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Authors Say Yes & No to Amazon’s Free Nielsen BookScan Figures

This morning, Amazon revealed they have sold “millions” of Kindles in the last 73 days. That may be the most concrete sales figure the company has ever offered about the popular eReader.

Last week, Amazon gave Author Central writers free access to Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales figures for their print books. The move touched off another debate about transparency and sales figures. Below, we’ve collected thoughts from two authors on the topic.

Here’s why author Dave Cullen did check his sales figures: “Publishing is in the dark ages on market data. (And in involving their own artists.) Books are the only major pop culture market that doesn’t report real data to the public (popular bestseller lists are kinda-true, but offer no numbers whatsoever), and the only one where no organization captures close to 100% of sales.”

Here’s why author Robert J. Bennett won’t check his sales figures: “at first you may hate it, but you will have to accept not knowing. You will have to learn to shrug, and come to embrace your constant vulnerability. And no matter where you sit in the Amazon rankings, or what digit Bookscan returns to you, or how many kind words you hear about what you’ve submitted, it’s not going to give you any more insight into what makes people come to love a book, or any work of art.”

RELATED: Attend the eBook Summit on December 15 in New York City to learn how to navigate the changing industry ecosystem and to engage with industry peers and leaders.

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