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New Website Instantly Tracks Meaningless Amazon Rankings

Are you an author who checks your book’s Amazon ranking obsessively? Do you not care that such rankings account for maybe 5 percent, tops, of total book sales? Then Aaron Shepherd‘s Sales Rank Express, a website that lets authors check their Amazon rankings instantly, is for you. “People want to know where their book stands, just for the thrill of that score,” said Shepard to the NYT’s Lyndon Stambler. Shepard’s own top seller, THE BUSINESS OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN, clocked in at 1,834th during one random check of Amazon last week, and at 2,070th during another one. He says it sells 250 to 450 copies a month.

How nice. But then Amazon rankings only have limited meaning in terms of guaging a book’s popularity or after some new review, controversy or exposure. When Susan Patron won the Newbery Medal in January for THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY and a controversy erupted over her use of the word “scrotum,” sales also rose – something she’d never thought about till then. “s a writer, I can’t be too concerned about that,” she said. “If it’s not the number you want, how hard is it to return to the keyboard? I just need to be writing the next book.”

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