Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Analyze Your Book Topic and Market Using Amazon.com

Ok you have done an initial look on Amazon, looked at instant search to see keywords on your topic and selected a phrase. Initial when you do a search you are looking to see that there are actual products, books and other items that are selling. A lot of books and items means this is an active market.You only really want to be in a market where people are spending actual money buying real things.

First, look at the search results.
  • You want to see that there are a good number of books selling in your topic. You want to see that your are looking at an active market.
  • Look at the top 10 books, the titles, the design, what words are being used in the titles, what keywords they are using?
  • Are the titles clear about what the books are about. Look at the subtitles, this is a great way to figure out what your title should be. You can add a pretty long subtitle to your book, which is a great way to add more keywords.
  • You want to spend time looking at the books that have high sales ranking, remember books come up by relevance but the results are not necessarily sorted in order of sales. There are over 8 million books on Amazon. Number eight million is at the bottom and #1 at the top. As you come down the search results page you will see different books that relate to your topic. Look at ones with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Sales ranks is listed in the Product Details section of each book, see below.
The next step is to select and review the top 5 to 10 books in your category. Click on a cover and start working your way down the sales page.

Top of Page
  • Look at the title and subtitle, how is it phrased, what key words are there
  • Look at the cover picture, can you tell what the book is about, remember our sales image is 1.5 to 2" wide, small type doesn't work any more, what is the book about. This will give you great info for figuring out your own book cover. You need to be able to read the cover when it is thumbnail
  • How many places is it being sold, how many reviews, is it in paperback, Kindle, look a all this
  • Check out Click to Look Inside! How are they laying out the book, what is the design, front matter etc. One of the most valuable parts of Look Inside is getting to see the Table of Contents. The TOC has all the information that should be in your book, how it is broken down and what to include. The task here is to look at several books and then combine their TOCs together into your book outline. You can very quickly pull a book together but looking through successful book's TOCs or figure out what is missing in yours. We aren't copying but we are looking for information, inspiration and what is missing from our project. There is gold here.
Book Description
  • Look at descriptions, what are they writing about, what keywords are there. Descriptions are keys to understanding the book and also its success in being found in search. Lots of great ideas hear. 
Frequently Bought Together and Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
  • Once a book starts to sell Amazon bundles it with other products that customers buy. Take a look at those products. This is also a good indicator of what your next product should be and the pricing. You could also make these bundle yourself and sell them on your own site.
  • Go through all these books and analyze them, there is a wealth of market info here
Editorial Reviews 
  • This is like looking at Customer Reviews but from the media, it is a good review of how the book is seen but it might be built more from press releases than from actual readers.
Product Details
  • Some key information here, we see the size of the book, page numbers, physical size, and the publisher. What I see that is the most important is the Sales Rank
  • Sales Rank. We want to look at book with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Bestselling books are in the 10,000 and lower area. This tells us which book are successful, we also want to pay attention to books that are ranking in 2 or more categories. This info will tell us where these books fall on the shelf and how the world sees them. Some to remember is that the ranking seems to be a daily snapshot. The numbers can move around a lot but is gives you a feel for what books are selling and which are not. I use this information alot to figure out which book I need to pay attention to. 
Customer Reviews
  • Customer Reviews are the gold in Amazon. Customers will write in what they like, what they don't, what is missing,  how things should be fixed. There is a ton to learn by reading the book reviews that you can add to your book.
  • Make a list and write down all of this key info. 
  • The review are also a great place to help you build the phrases that you will use for your book description, back cover jacket text, your press release.
  • You want to be looking at books that have a healthy number of reviews, more than 5-8, if a book has 30-50 then you have a popular book or at least a book that effects people.

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