Matthias Matting runs the German blog The Self Publisher’s Bible. In an attempt to determine what is myth and what is reality with regard to how Amazon’s sales algorithms work, and how sales ranking is determined, he ran a small experiment on Amazon’s German website with the help of 90 volunteers.

His principle objective was to determine if any of these three points was dominant in influencing sales ranking:

  1. Price
  2. Enrolment in KDP Select
  3. Organic sales

You can read more about his experiment here, but in summary, he uploaded four titles with two different price points (0.99 Euro and 2.99 Euro). Then he bought one copy of each book to get a sales rank for the books. Finally he asked his 90 volunteers to either buy the book or, if they were KindleUnlimited users, to read at least 10% of the book they downloaded.

Matthias summarises his findings as follows:

  1. Price does not influence sales rankings. For both the 2.99 and 0.99 titles, similar sales resulted in similar sales ranks.
  2. Enrollment in KDP Select does not give you a higher sales ranking.
  3. Organic sales growth results in a higher ranking.
  4. A sustained period of sales is important and positively influences your book’s sales ranking. Sales over a period of (much) longer than 24 hours have a very positive influence on a title’s ranking. Further, a day without sales negatively influences ranking. The Amazon algorithms devalue a sale by approximately 50% every 24 hours. Of course, sales numbers increase exponentially with a high ranking which is why it is so difficult for a new title to climb the charts.
  5. Borrows on KindleUnlimited influence a book’s ranking immediately – even before the borrower reads the 10% required for the author to earn income. This means having your books on KindleUnlimited will immediately result in higher visibility even if you don’t necessarily benefit financially. This fact also explains any differences between your sales numbers and sales ranking.

His advice to author is to be patient. He says, ‘ If you are planning promotions, start with the least effective and increase their power in several steps. Twenty sales each day for a week get you [a] higher [ranking] than 150 sales one day and none the next. KindleUnlimited is not as bad a deal as you might think – at least, you get an immediate boost [in ranking] if someone borrows your title.

Matthias believes his experiment establishes a baseline for how Amazon works in any market. What do you think? Do your experiences gel with his?

Leave a comment


  1. That is some good info! Hope you don’t mind if I reblog!

  2. Reblogged this on Bookshelf Battle and commented:
    Romance Writers of Australia discuss a German Indie Author’s Amazon Algorithm Experiment – lots of good info for those wondering how this all works.

  3. Jenny Schwartz

     /  January 28, 2015

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing, Laura. Here’s the link to my article fr Facebook My experience with KU.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Subscribe by email

  • Subscribe by Feeder

  • Recent News

  • Blog Posts by Category

  • Archives

  • Our Team

    Blogmistress: Imelda Evans

    Blog Editor: Juanita Kees

    A Day in the Writing Life of... Keziah Hill

    Author Spotlights: Sarah Belle

    Cruisin' the Blogs: Juanita Kees

    New Releases: Laura Boon

    Blog Bites: Thea George

    Hearts Talk Wrap: Ainslie Paton

    Cover Contest: Eleni Konstantine

  • Your say:

    Derricksow on February New Releases
    Maggi Andersen on Craft: Types of Writers
    Eewang on BLOG BITE with Paula Roe
    Consultoria Seo on February New Releases
    Marsha Atkins on 2017 Ruby finalists
  • RWAus Tweets

  • Pages

%d bloggers like this: