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Q: Book Sales Statistics ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Book Sales Statistics
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: broker-ga
List Price: $40.00
Posted: 26 Dec 2002 13:35 PST
Expires: 25 Jan 2003 13:35 PST
Question ID: 133616
I am looking for an online resource that will tell me the number of
books sold for any book that's ever been published, or at least those
have have been publishd recently, say since 1990 or so.  If there's
nothing online, an offline resource would be fine as well.  So, for
instance, I want to find out how many copies of have been
sold since it was published in June of 2002.

Request for Question Clarification by ragingacademic-ga on 26 Dec 2002 15:42 PST
broker -

Thanks for your question.

Would you be willing to pay for such information - or are you looking
for a free resource?  The latter likely does not exist.


Clarification of Question by broker-ga on 27 Dec 2002 07:31 PST
I would be willing to pay for this information, assuming the price is
reasonable.  Further, if it is not possible to get the specific number
of books sold, perhaps books printed/shipped would suffice.  Nearly
all of the books for which I am seeking sales figures are extremely
popular, which may make it easier to get the information from the
Subject: Re: Book Sales Statistics
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 27 Dec 2002 15:05 PST
Dear broker,

Thanks for your question.  First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research – please
don’t hesitate to ask me for a clarification.

You requested information regarding an online – or offline - resource
that will provide information concerning the number of books sold for
any book that's ever been published, or at least for books published
since 1990 or so.  You also specifically requested information
regarding “Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right”.

The absolute best source of data is available by phone (automated)
through Ingram.  However, this will only provide you with sales made
through Ingram – the standard multiplier used to estimate system-wide
sales is 6.  Let’s use “Slander” as an example.

First, the phone number you need to call is – 

(615) 213-6803

Be prepared to punch in the book’s ISBN number.  In the case of
“Slander,” it’s 1400046610 (I got this off of the Amazon page; you
could also look it up inside or on the back cover of the book).

Ingram provides both inventory and sales data.

For “Slander,” Ingram reports inventory data as follows:

509 copies in warehouses
312 copies on order
8 copies on back order

And sales data:

Unadjusted demand 1,367
Last week adjusted demand 721
***Sales this year – 30,557

I am not sure what the demand metrics reference exactly (especially
the first metric; the second is pretty much self-explanatory),
however, if you call every week they will give you some sense of how
demand for the book is changing.

Multiplying the sales number by 6 gives us about 183,000 sales this
year.  Since the book was published this year, Ingram reports zero
sales for last year; it would report the actual sales had there been

I checked the multiplier with an author-friend, and it comes pretty
darn close.  His agent actually uses a multiplier of 10, but given
that we have seen the multiplier work for my friend's book, "10" seems
to be a bit too liberal.

Another good data source is JungleScan –

JungleScan tracks Amazon sales rank data; while it won’t give you the
number of books sold, it will provide a good indicator of demand and
trends.   “Slander” is already tracked –

And from the home page you can add any other book you wish to have

I hope this response adequately addresses your request.  Please let me
know if you are in need of additional information concerning this


Request for Answer Clarification by broker-ga on 27 Dec 2002 18:10 PST
Thanks for the response.  I called the number and tried it out.  It
did give me this and last year's sales information, but it didn't have
total sales to date through Ingram, which would have worked since I
could have simply applied the multiplier to arrive at an estimate for
total sales since inception through all sales channels.

So, I guess the question is:  Do you know how to get total sales to
date through Ingram?  If not, is there any other source out there that
has that information whether online/offline or free/pay?

This is important because many of the books that I am interested in
getting information on were published more than 2 years ago.


Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 30 Dec 2002 19:00 PST
broker - 

Hi. Wanted to let you know I am still working on this and hope to
report back to you here within a couple more days.

Happy new year!

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 04 Jan 2003 02:45 PST
broker -

Hi again.  My apologies, but I have searched far and wide, and have
enlisted the assistance of some friends - but could not identify a
source through which you could easily obtain such data.

What I have heard several times is that people simply collect the
information over time.

Since Ingram tracks this information and makes it available to the
public, they likely keep track of it themselves as well - I would
recommend that you try contacting them directly to request data for
the books in which you are interested; they may have a statistics
department that would service such calls.  Here is some contact info
for Ingram -

Phil Frazer, Publisher Relations Supervisor
Ingram Book Company, 1 Ingram Boulevard, LaVergne, TN 37086-3629
800-937-8100, ext. 5369
Fax: 615-287-5565

One way or another, you should be able to touch base with this

Please let me know if there is any other way in which I can help.
btw, if you are not satisfied with my reply to this question, I can
request my editor to issue a refund.  Please let me know if you would
like me to do so.

Good luck with your quest!

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 05 Jan 2003 00:55 PST
Dear broker -

Hi again.  As annw2 points out, Nielsen BookScan does indeed track
such data; my apologies for missing this earlier.  Nielsen Bookscan is
at -

You can request information on the site, from page -

The Guardian list is at -,5917,,00.html

Although neither are providing the information for free, there is
likely some way by which you can arrange to purchase the data you are
seeking.  The Guardian also receives its data through Nielsen

My sincerest thanks to annw2-ga for her comments.

Subject: Re: Book Sales Statistics
From: iome-ga on 26 Dec 2002 17:14 PST
Books ordered and/or shipped ! = Books sold

Books shipped - Books returned = Books sold

Royalty statements, from what I've heard, always hold back some of the
dinero for possible returns and can be fairly arcane even for the
author of a title to decipher.

Best seller lists are not based on total numbers sold but on a subset
of bookstores and book dealers.

Book sales figures for specific books are not something publishers
toss about freely until (and unless) they release that new edition
with "over 100,000 copies sold!"

Industry-wide sales statistics are available. The more detailed
statistics are not available for free on the Web.

I know of no resource online or offline where you could pop Ann
Coulter's title in and get information on sales.

Subject: Re: Book Sales Statistics
From: annw2-ga on 04 Jan 2003 21:50 PST
neilsen bookscan keep track of how many copies of books are sold. As
far as I can see you have to pay for the information, maybe be a
bookseller, publisher etc to get the information. Try their website.
The Guardian newspaper has a list of the top 100 books (UK) with
number of copies sold on their website at the moment and the source of
the data which I can't remember just now. Apart from that very hard to
find information on this.

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