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Q: Book Sales ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Book Sales
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: wendybasser-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 08 May 2002 19:04 PDT
Expires: 15 May 2002 19:04 PDT
Question ID: 13883
Where on Internet can we find how many books have sold of any one Title?

Request for Question Clarification by ephraim-ga on 08 May 2002 20:41 PDT
*Any* title ever published or just a few specific titles?
Subject: Re: Book Sales
Answered By: jessamyn-ga on 10 May 2002 11:47 PDT

I'm going to have to back up Seedy on this one. While publishers need
to know the actual number of titles they sell in order to compensate
their writers, their list of titles and their sales figures are
considered strategic business information and are generally kept
confidential except for those with a need-to-know. So, for example, if
you were a journalist who was writing an article on a specific title
and needed the sales figures you would contact the publisher who would
have that information and, more likely than not, release it to you.

In general, the publishing industry places more weight in relative
sales figures and regional sales trends than they do in absolute
numbers of titles sold. So, for example, Amazon Rankings and Best
Seller Lists are very important to a publisher. Here is a Slate
article that explains how the best-seller lists are maintained and

You will notice the Slate article states "Most book publishing
companies are privately held and keep [industrywide sales] information
secret; even when the companies are publicly traded, it is nearly
impossible to find out the unit sales of individual books"

If the book you are interested in is a historical best seller, those
can be easier to track down. The Internet Public Library maintains a
FAQ about best seller lists that can give you numbers for historically
popular books such as the Bible or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

For more information about book sale numbers and tracking, I recommend
BookWire and Publisher's Weekly websites

Please let us know if there is a specific title you are interested in,
or more information you can add that would help us track down an
actual number for you. Thank you for writing.


google searches used

best sellers of all time
units sold book sales
sales figures books
books sold millions
Subject: Re: Book Sales
From: seedy-ga on 09 May 2002 01:36 PDT
Although I was unable to directly answer your question, the following
information may be of interest.

From the website:

"Book sales statistics have always been as much fiction as fact, and
book industry bestseller lists have often been criticized for their
methodology and inaccuracy.

That could change with the introduction of BookScan's marketing
information system, which can provide publishers with aggregated
point-of-sale information from the largest chain book retailers, and
soon from independent bookstores as well."

From the website:



White Plains, NY, June 18, 2001-- BookScan, a VNU Retail Entertainment
Information Group (REI) company, launched today a sales and marketing
information system that offers subscriber publishers a
first-of-its-kind source of aggregated point-of-sale (POS)
information. With this data, subscriber publishers will have an
instrumental tool for reducing book returns, alerting publishers to
emerging marketing opportunities, and even assisting in long-range

BookScan provides subscriber publishers data provided from a majority
of the book retailing industry due to it's exclusive agreements with
Barnes and Noble, Inc.,, Borders Group, Inc.,
Costco Wholesale, Hastings Entertainment, Ingram Book Company,
Musicland, and Target. BookScan is also in talks with the American
Booksellers Association to provide data from its independent
bookseller members.

BookScan's various reports, delivered to subscriber publishers via a
proprietary website, update and provide publishers with over 800
bestseller lists broken down by subject, format (mass market,
hardcover, trade paper), region and metropolitan area. Bookscan will
also provide publishers on a weekly basis with updated marketing
reports on sales by subject, price point, demographics, and market
share. Individual title reports provide sales by eight major regions,
author, and 99 metropolitan areas.

After four years of development and testing, BookScan is now available
for sale to large and small publishers and will be demonstrated to
major publishers at appointments beginning next week. Subscription
price will be scaled according to the size of the publisher.

"We are excited to launch BookScan with data from a majority of the
book retail industry. Never before have publishers had quick,
convenient access to aggregated data from so many retailers," says Jim
King, vice president, sales and service for BookScan. "Our mandate is
to aid publishers in their quest to increase effective marketing to
consumers and to efficiently lower industry return rates."

To order, request a demonstration, or inquire about BookScan,
publishers may contact Jim King, vice president, sales and service, at
914-684-5537 or

BookScan is the sole online information service for the publishing
industry, tracking retail book sales via point-of-sale data. In
addition to BookScan, VNU Retail Entertainment Information Group (REI)
is home to SoundScan and VideoScan, which have transformed the music
and home video industries respectively by providing them with relevant
and actionable point-of-sale information. VNU is a leading
international media and information company. Its core activities are
marketing and media information, business information and directories.
VNU is active in more than 100 countries, spread across all

Jim King is vice president, sales and service for BookScan. He was
previously sales director at various publishers including Abbeville
Press, Publications International Ltd. and Facts on File, as well as
store manager at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston Texas."

From the website:

This site carries several best seller lists but, does not give sales
in units per title.

I'll continue to search for an acceptable answer to your request.
Subject: Re: Book Sales
From: morris-ga on 10 May 2002 14:23 PDT
I wrote an article a couple years ago explaining what Amazon Sales
ranks mean in actual numbers of books sold.

Keep in mind that you have to watch the rank of a book over a couple
days to get an idea of the average rank before you get a useful
answer. If you want to extrapolate the total number of books sold from
the number Amazon sells, mutiply by about 20, but it will only be
meaningful for books that are stocked by all the major bookstores.

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