I frequently use Amazon to track how our books are ranked. More importantly, I use it to track how those ranking change over time. This is especially important on big books where you need near-immediate feedback. Often, you can see a direct correlation between a specific promotion or publicity event and upward movement in Amazon’s rankings.
The problem is that this can be a slow and tedious process. You have to go to Amazon’s Web site, search for the book you want, go to the specific title page, and then scroll down to the metadata to see the “Amazon.com Sales Rank.” However, unless you are willing to manually log this data into an Excel spreadsheet, there’s no way to keep track of the ranking history.
Now you can automatically log this information—and a whole lot more—with TitleZ. Best of all it’s free—at least for now. This site was created by The Planning Shop, a group of business planning specialists. (If you are interested in how the site came about, Publishers Weekly has an article in their current issue about the service.) I started using it several months ago.
TitleZ is a great tool for publishing professionals. You can search for titles by keyword, author, title, or publisher. For example, if I enter “Nelson” as the search term and search by publisher, TitleZ will show me every single Thomas Nelson title arranged in descending order by current rank. How cool is that?
If I click the button next to the title, TitleZ will give me the option to start tracking this title’s history and save it to a special list called “My TitleZ.” I can also click on another button and go directly to Amazon’s page for this title. It is very intuitive and takes almost no time.
Once I start tracking the history, TitleZ will remember the title’s:
- Best Rank
- Worst Rank
- 7-Day Average
- 30-Day Average
- 90-Day Average
- Lifetime Average
This is a great tool for all kinds of publishing professionals. For example:
- Publicists can see exactly what kind of impact a media appearance has on a book’s ranking and how long it lasts.
- Marketers can see the impact of special promotions—especially those where consumers are likely to order online.
- Editors can research the sales history of specific titles, authors, or even entire categories.
- Publishers can research specific categories they may be thinking about entering or imprints they may be thinking about acquiring.
- Agents can keep track of how their clients’ books are doing.
- Authors can keep track of how their own books are doing.
Personally, I use TitleZ as an “early warning system.” If I see one of our title’s rankings rise precipitously, I know that we likely have a book that is about to take off at retail. This gives us the opportunity to pour more gas on the fire—and see the impact on the rankings.
If you are working in the field of publishing and not using TitleZ, you’re missing out on a really cool tool.