It turns out I’m not alone in my obsession with the Amazon Rank of my book. It’s a “known problem,” which sounds like something Rumsfeld would say — wasn’t it great to see him on Capitol Hill the other day, as uncooperative and unclear as ever? — but is actually a technical phrase. Anyway, I check “my” rank far too often. (I also try hard to think of it as “my book’s rank,” not my own personal rank.)

Recently, Amazon added several sub-ranks, or ranks within categories as opposed to the original rank among all books. While this gives me more to obsess over, it also may be fairer to compare my book to other computer books than to Harry Potter and Kurt Vonnegut. This new sub-ranking also reveals the problem of automated categorization. My book is doing well in the NT category, which is a surprise since it has nothing to do with NT. Of course, neither do books on CSS, which often show up in the same categories as my book. Oh, well, all numbers are equal. mjh

Amazon Rank


The Highs and the Lows of Rankings on Amazon – New York Times, By LYNDON STAMBLER

Forget writer’s block — many authors put their manuscripts aside because they cannot stop checking their rankings.

“There really should be a 12-step program,” said Harry Kirchner, a senior national accounts manager with Ingram Publisher Services, a book distributor that counts Amazon as a customer.

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