Sales rank- how does it work?


I haven’t figured out how sales ranking works. The higher the number, the more books of this ISBN have sold? Or have I got that wrong?

Creating test products for development

What TFC-Josh said above. The lower the rank of an ASIN, the more of it that is selling than other ASINs with higher numbers.

The sales rank is a function of the number of sales of a particular ASIN compared to the number of sales of other ASINs. So sales rank doesn’t tell you the quantity sold of a particular ASIN; it just tells you a relationship among ASINs.

The ranks are constantly updating throughout the day. Any given rank at any particular time is only a snapshot of the relationship among ASINs at that particular time. You can see histories of ranks on particular dates on sites like camelcamelcamel.

It seems like in books they may update ranks every couple hours or even sooner. I’m not sure how often it really is, as I haven’t sat there and constantly refreshed, but I have checked the same ISBN multiple times throughout the day to see changes.


in short , the sale rank in amazon (updated hourly) is the factor of how product is selling in comparison with others in same category
the lower rank , the better a product is selling , Rank #1 is the best -> you can sell it very fast in 24 hr with your price is relatively competitive
Unfortunately , amazon doesn’t reveal the algorithm of its sale ranking


Sales Rank starts at 1 (for most sold) and increases indefinitely (each thing more than #1 has sold less than #1).


So, let me get this, top seller is #1, and every ranking after that relates to that. So, the higher the number, the fewer have been sold compared to #1… which doesn’t always say much, because sometimes the #1 book for that week is a piece of trash.


There’s more than just total volume of sales; the timeframes and recency factor into rank as well.


Amazon’s logarithm to determine sales rank is a closely guarded secret for some indiscernible reason. It’s probably a function of the number of copies sold and when they are sold, with a declining value for those sold in later time frames.
PS: The #1 book is (almost) ALWAYS a piece of trash.

Edited by: booksrus on Apr 26, 2017 1:26 PM


Speaking of which, why are the top 5 selling products in automotive toys? because they wouldnt be able to list it as what it actually is?


The closer the rank to #1 the more likely a book is to sell within a short timeframe, assuming that it is not in oversupply and your price is competitive, and Amazon itself is not making all of the sales.

As the sales rank increases it becomes less of a predictor of when the next sale will occur, until it is totally useless, since lack of supply as well as lack of demand may lead to a poor rank.

It is most useful to sellers who operate on short margins on large volumes of popular books which they may decide to buy by scanning bar codes.


#1 is the top seller, #2 has sold less than #one but MORE than #three, #3 has sold MORE THAN #four but LESS THAN #two
(I will continue explanation later- it gets interesting after #1,573,887)


Rank is also relative to category.

For instance, 1,000,000 is a decent rank for books, as there are over 13,000,000 listings last I heard.

However, 1,000,000 is a terrible rank for Movies, as there are something like 1,250,000 listings in that category.

You can be #50 but if there are only 100 items in the category its not as good as it seems.


Look at it like a best-seller list:
Sales rank of #1 is the best seller; Amazon sells more of this than everything else.
Sales rank of #2 is the second best seller; only one item sells better.
Sales rank of #3 is the third best seller; only two items sell better.
Sales rank of #1,000 is the 1000th best seller; 999 items sell better.
Sales rank of #10,000,000 is the ten-millionth best seller; 9,999,999 items sell more than this.


The faster it sells the closer to 1 the number is…

For books figure the following:

Under 1000: sells like a maniac, at the right price will sell within hours

Under 10,000: will sell within a week if priced right

Under 100,000: will sell within 1-3 weeks if priced right

Under 250,000: will sell within a month or two if priced right

500,000: Give it several months

1,000,000: Give it 6 months

2,000,000: Give it a year

3,000,000: Hope you’ve got time

4-8 million: could take years

9 million or higher: May never sell

All of this is a rough, rough estimate. Have sold books with a rank of 5 million within a week or two of sending in, have waiting weeks or months with rank of 25,000. It’s you and your mazel.

Textbooks will shift to a much more favorable rank during the months of January and August if they are still in prevalent use (they could go from 1 million during the off-season to 50,000 or less etc.)

Take care.


Would you say that the ranking is archaic, since it’s been around forever? Maybe they should just list the item as “the last time sold” or “completed sales” or something else…IMO the ranking is confusing and tells you nothing. It only counts IMO if the item you are selling has no ranking, because it is rare and the only one.


I don’t think AMZ has figured it out either. I think it’s an archaic system based on an archaic algorithm, that they just kept around to confuse everybody.

I have a couple of items in my inventory that have - (no) listing. Why? Because they’re the only ones listed…that’s just IMO.
There are games and CDs with listings of 1,000,000 and they sell quite well. So what’s the point of the ranking?

closed #16