We all want to be number one, or even 100th, including authors it seems. There are so many best selling lists, but of course most of them only note the top ten or twenty and only so many can be in the top ten or twenty. Like...ahhhh..ten or twenty. But there is another ranking, a much bigger ranking and that is the All Powerful Amazon's ranking. It seems that since Amazon instituted the system 10+ years, it has become quite an obsession among both authors and their publishers and discussed in this NY Times article. It seems that some authors become a bit obsessed with their ranking, checking every day to see if they have moved from 1800th to 1700th place. And of course, as with every system someone come up with, it doesn't take long for someone to figure out how to 'game' the system.
For most books, it does not take many orders to increase rankings. Knowing this, authors, publishers, even nonprofit organizations like MoveOn.org will send out e-mail blasts asking people to buy a book at a set time, or buy up copies themselves. Some authors get their friends to write reviews or even write a positive review for a rival book and mention their own title.Oh, that is one of my pet peeves. Sometimes, I am looking at books on Amazon, maybe a book recommended because of another book I bought. There is a book, maybe one with only a small number of reviews, but an oddly large number in the 5 star category. So, I look at the review authors.
Is this the only book they have reviewed? And, of course, it is the very best book they have ever, ever read! Thanks mom and sis and college roommate!
I usually leave a comment for others to take this one with a grain of salt perhaps.
Also, there is some real mystery as to how the system even works. Seems there is some secret to it all. I am shocked...not.Sily me, I thought it was just like..the book that sold the most copies. But it seems not...
Neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble will divulge the algorithms they use for rankings. What Amazon will say is that sales rankings are updated hourly for millions of items. The sales history counts, but recent sales are weighted more heavily.I think I have clearly voiced my disinterest before in these best selling lists and such. Oh, they are fun to look at, but when it comes to buying or reading, give me a good review or recommendation from someone I trust any day. In fact, if something is very, very popular (in the past, insert any Oprah pick here), that is a bit of a red flag for me. I can't say that I believe I have ever read a book just because it was on one of these list...and I know that I have NEVER bought a book on Amazon because of it's ranking. So authors, don't be distracted and besides, they are probably 'fixed' somehow anyhoo. Just write really good, entertaining stuff and then get some great reviews out there. Personally, I think it is worth a lot more than some questionable ranking somewhere.
Really my dear readers, I am curious. Have you ever based a buying/reading decision on an Amazon ranking?