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The First Step Towards Finding COUNTLESS Profitable Kindle Book Topics - Determining Daily Book Sales

The First Step Towards Finding COUNTLESS Profitable Kindle Book Topics – Determining Daily Book Sales

Amazon Best SellerAs with any other business, the key to success with Kindle publishing is creating a product that fills consumer demand.  Amazon is providing us with an amazing platform for our books to be found and purchased.  In order for us to take full advantage of this and make money publishing Kindle books, we need to find out what topics consumers want to read about and publish books on those topics.

Doing your research properly and finding a profitable topic to publish a book on is BY FAR that most important step in the whole Kindle publishing process!  Why?  If you fail to do this step properly, it doesn’t matter how great of a book you publish, how much marketing you do, or how much time and money you spend publishing your book.  If it’s not what people want to read, nobody will buy it and you won’t make money.  However, if done right, there is a LOT of money to be made publishing Kindle books and it can be a GREAT source of passive income!

In the last three months I’ve made over $13,000 in passive income from short, non-fiction Kindle books.  I did this without any marketing outside of Amazon simply because I was successful in choosing profitable book topics.

There’s quite a few different ways to actually go about finding these profitable book topics.  However, they all rely on one thing – being able to determine how well other books currently for sale on the Kindle store are selling.  How will you ever know if a topic is profitable or not without being able to tell how other books on that topic are selling?

Finding a Book’s Amazon Ranking

Luckily for us, Amazon is kind enough to display rankings for every Kindle book available for purchase.  While these rankings won’t tell us exactly how many copies each book is selling (we’ll get to that in a minute), it will give us the information needed to figure that out.

The only ranking we’re concerned with is the overall “Paid in Kindle Store” ranking.  In order to find this information, on a book’s product page, scroll down to the orange “Product Details” header.  At the bottom of that section will be the rankings.  See the screenshot below.  This is the Product Details for a random book I’m not associated with – see the ranking which I highlighted in yellow.

Product Details

In rare instances, you may come across a book that doesn’t have any ranking information under the Product Details, where it typically should be.  The reason for this is usually that the book has just recently been published and it has not recorded at least a sale or two for Amazon to start ranking it.

Analyzing Amazon Rankings

Not that we know where to find each book’s Amazon ranking, what do we do with it?  How does that translate into sales?  In the example above, we can see that the book’s ranking is #9,975 in the Paid Kindle Store.  That means out of all paid Kindle books (around 2,000,000) this is the 9,975th bestselling book.

However, what does that mean?  Is a book that is the 9,975th bestselling book in the Paid Kindle Store a tremendous success or a complete flop?  That’s where having some experience publishing Kindle books really helps, and this is the reason why many beginners (including myself at first) end up publishing quite a few books that don’t sell at all, before ever experiencing success.

To make things even a bit more complicated, Amazon rankings are typically updated every hour, so it’s tough to be able to say for certain the correlation between Amazon Rankings and sales without a lot of data.

Luckily, I keep daily records as to what my Amazon rankings are for all my Kindle books in addition to how many sales I got that day.  After publishing 39 books so far (as of 7/28/13) and having them ranking anywhere from #500 – #800,000 I’m now able to quickly judge based off Amazon Rankings around how many copies any given book is selling per day.

So I went through all my sales data and compiled a “cheat sheet” for you, so you can hopefully shorten the learning curve and start choosing profitable Kindle book topics from the start!  Using this table, you’ll be able to quickly estimate how many copies a book is selling and how much money the author is making from it!

Sales : Ranking

As you can see, the vast majority of these numbers come from my first-hand experience and recording my sales and rankings daily for the past year.  However, for rankings below #500 (the best ranking one of my books has experienced to date) I had to estimate based on research I’ve done as to how many books are sold.

Moving Forward

If used correctly, the data I just gave you is INSANELY valuable and can help you get start seeing success with your Kindle publishing efforts.  However, just knowing how many copies a particular book is selling won’t help you find profitable topics to publish books about by itself.  In the coming weeks I’ll be explaining how I use this information to find TONS of profitable Kindle topics – so keep an eye out and make sure you’re subscribed to my email list where you’ll get more valuable information EXCLUSIVELY for email subscribers.  If you haven’t already subscribed, you can do so at the top of the sidebar or right below this post!

I hope this post helped you get a good understanding of the fundamentals of Kindle topic research.  Kindle publishing has been a real game-changer for me with the passive income I’m generating from my books.  I know it can do the same for you if you learn how to go about it correctly.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below!  Also, if you could do me a favor and share this post with just one friend who could benefit from making passive income every month from Kindle books, that would be awesome!  I’d be very thankful if you did, and I’m sure your friend would be too! 😉


  1. Hi Thomas, I’ve been a reader of your blog and a listener to your podcast for quite awhile but this is the first time I’ve commented here. Your Kindle sales are impressive! I too publish Kindle books but only have 4 out so far. Ever since your rebranding, I’ve enjoyed reading about the other projects you’ve been working on that are not related to the app business.

    Can you tell me how many words/pages your books are when you say they are short? Self publishing (not just Kindle) has also been a game changer for me. I’m not making a lot (yet) but it’s definitely where my biggest earnings come from. I’m about to ramp up my publishing efforts soon.

    Until now, I have been publishing longer books in the range of 16,000 words/80-90 printed pages because I also convert my Kindle books to print. Because of that, I’ve literally doubled my sales from just a little bit more work after my Kindle books go online. However, I don’t think I can justify converting books that are too short to print.

    I’m definitely interested in hearing how you find topics for your books. I’ve found my own way to generate unlimited topics but I looking forward to your next post on the topic.

    • Hey Harlan – Nice to hear from you – thanks for the comment! Awesome to see you have 4 Kindle books already! As for length, the large majority of my books are around 5,000 words long. I’ve thought about using the CreatesSpace option and publishing print versions as well, but you’re right – with such a short book it would be hard to justify a print version…it would be more of a pamphlet. Smaller guides are geared much more towards eBooks than print books anyway.

      Keep up the great work with your Kindle publishing!

  2. 39 books already?! You continue to impress me. I’ve always been a big fan of trying to find ways to generate passive income, but for some reason have never thought about book publishing as a method. Makes a lot of sense though now that the Kindle, Nook, etc have become so mainstream. I don’t see myself as a good writer right now but eventually I’ll want to write some business books on my experiences. Thanks for the write-up.


    • Thanks for the comment Brent! eBooks (Kindle, Nook, and even standalone PDF guides) can definitely be great sources of passive income! Even if you’re not a good writer, you can look into outsourcing some guides until you feel you’re ready to start writing business books on your experiences (which should obviously be written by you though).

  3. Nicole Panche says:

    Hey Thomas,

    Great post! It was really informative! What are some of the books you have published?

    Your avid follower,


    • Thanks Nicole! I don’t reveal specific books or topics at the moment, but I do have a lot of books in the heath/fitness niche as well as tech/games niche.

  4. Hi Thomas,

    Stumbled across your blog while searching for more info about publishing Kindle books. Just wanted to let you know there is a tool called KDP calculator (http://KDPcalculator.com) that you can enter the ranking, and it will give you the approximate amount of books you’d need to sell that day to reach that ranking.

    If you want to find out how many books you’d need to sell to make the bestseller list, simply go the category you want, copy the ranking number for the bestselling Kindle book in that category, and paste it into KDP calculator.

    Hope you find it useful!

    • I’ve checked out that site briefly before, but I feel that the results are very general, and not as accurate as I would like them to be, based on my experiences. Would be a great tool if it was more on target and specific though!

  5. Hi Thomas, I remember you mentioned using an email list for promoting ebooks. I was wondering if you would publish your results and elaborate further on the subject?


    • Hey John – Yup, right now I have around 400 people on the Kindle email list. Still testing and seeing how to use the list for optimal impact. Will definitely post about that in the near future!

  6. how do you get content for books? outsource it to specialist?

  7. Thomas,

    I have a few questions.

    I suspect you’re now using the same batch of writers, but initially, did you hire through a specific site?

    Are the writers located in the US?

    For 5000 words, what’s the average cost?

    Do you add images?

    Finally, are you taking the text and formatting it yourself or is someone else doing that as well?



    • Hey Jason! To answer your questions:

      – Yeah, I mostly stick to writers now I have a working relationship with and I know are of good quality. However, starting out I hired mostly through Elance and a little bit through TextBroker.

      – Average cost depends on which writer I use and what the topic is. Anywhere between $50-130 for 5,000 words.

      – Whether or not I add images depends on the topic (if it’s necessary) and which writer I use.

      – I format the books myself, it’s not very hard at all once you know what you’re doing and it only takes me around 30-40 minutes per book. It’s something I’m looking to outsource though in 2014.

      Hope those answers help! Let me know if you have any more questions!

      • Brian Shaw says:

        Hi Thomas, I’m a little confused. Are you saying you just submit a topic to a writer, and the writer researches, and produces your content? Or you research, and submit a detailed outline to your writer, and they expand from your outline? And if the latter, how many words is your average outline?

        Thanks so much for all your insight.

        • Hey Brian – At this point I usually just sent the title/topic of the book over to one of my writers and they research and write the book. However, when I’m first starting out with a new writer sometimes I will come up with the table of contents myself and give that to them as a starting point. Hope that answers your questions!

          • Hi Thomas, just one more question please. If your writers do the research on your topic, and basically produce your ebook, what’s to stop them from publishing it themselves?

          • Hey Brian – Most freelance writers aren’t really entrepreneurs, and don’t know what it takes to successfully publish a Kindle book that sells well. Most of them are far more comfortable getting paid $x per book consistently than taking a chance that they spend all their effort on a book that makes $0.50 in it’s lifetime (very possible). Plus, it’s not in their best interest to risk getting a negative review from a client and potentially losing much more freelancing business in the future because of that.

      • Thanks Thomas! Just one final question, if you don’t mind. What should be my average price I’m charging for an ebook, as you’ve described, 5000 words, or so?

        • All of my books at the moment are either $2.99 or $0.99.

          • Hey Thomas, I was hoping you could clarify another amazon mystery for me. I notice amazon repeatedly states ‘one can sell their e-book in whatever country they have the rights, copyrights, and/or license for, and ones lawyer can assist with this matter.’

            So I’m back to being quite confused. Does this mean I have to pay a lawyer to copyright, and or license each and every nonfiction book I write for a global, or even domestic release? This would be crazy expensive, what am I missing here?

            I’m almost ready to publish with my first e-book, thanks to your wisdom, and inspiration.

          • Hi Brian – No, you don’t have to register for a copyright for your books. What they’re saying is that you need to have the rights to distribute the book you’re uploading. If you wrote the book yourself or had it ghostwritten, you own the rights (regardless of whether you officially copyright it or not) and can therefore publish it on Kindle globally. Hope that helps, and best of luck with your ebook!

  8. Hey man, how are you??
    So, in your different book, do you use different pen names for different niches or what??

    • Hey Jacson, I’m doing well! I have a TON of different pen names that I use – probably over 30. I do oftentimes upload similar books under the same pen name though to try and build authority in a specific niche. Hope that answers your question!

  9. Hi, I hope you can support my question.
    I have come across your blog and the comments above. My question is about actual books – is it possible to “Kindle Publish” a longer book than just 5000 words without it being a hard-cover as yet? And secondly; if it is a good book – would this open opportunities to attract potential publishers?
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Tanya – Thanks for the comment! Yes, it’s definitely possible (and encouraged) to publish books on Kindle longer than 5,000 words. The reason I tend to lean towards the smaller 5,000 word books is because it let’s me publish a lot of books quickly and cheap and “see what sticks”. However if writing is a passion of yours and you wouldn’t mind expanding more on a topic, it’s definitely not a bad thing! If you publish your book and it sells really well on Kindle I’m sure that would give you the upper-hand when approaching publishers since you’ll have a proven sales track record and hopefully an established fan base.

  10. I look forward to your answer. I think as a slight twist to “kindle” as a part-time income; I actually am a writer and aspiring author. I truly believe that my work has validity and want to find out if it is worth going the Kindle route in gaining a publisher and selling copies before it is formally published – one has to start somewhere? I know most use Kindle with out-source writers and LOL, if you guys need help – I will gladly support 🙂
    I was born with a pen in my hand and really all I want to do – so I really hope that “books” and not just “e-book shorts of 5000 words” have a potentiality as Kindle? And Thomas, does the price change on this length.
    Thanks again,

    • To answer your last question here (I think I covered your other ones in your last comment), yes price can often increase as your word count increases. Unfortunately, some people correlate quantity with price vs. quality with price. So most people validate spending $9.99 on a 50,000 word book but not on a 10,000 word book. So with my 5,000 word books I price them at $0.99 or $2.99 to make sure I don’t get too many bad reviews because of the length (even though it states up front how many pages). For longer books I can definitely see your price being able to go up as long as they are of good quality, obviously. Hope that helps!

  11. Thank you Thomas for your encouraging answers. I’m new to the whole Kindle concept and it clearly is different than an E-Book; and thus would not require similar formatting, cover or images – and I correct in that? I will get a kindle with a PC app to see how it is done; but any formatting “important” info would be lovely for us all, I’m sure. As to the rest, thanks, I will most definitely go this route and agree that a sales record will improve publisher attraction.

    • Glad I could help! Formatting really isn’t that hard at all and you can upload a Word document directly to KDP. I use Pages for Mac (similar to Word on PC) to “format” the book – pretty much just adding chapter headers and making it look as clean as possible. I’ll be writing a post in the near future about the exact steps I do to format my books, so keep an eye out!

  12. Great, thank you.
    I love my Mac, but find PC works best for interaction with clients – so am doing my book in Word.
    I don’t want to miss your post – do you send a notice?

    • Yup – PC will work just as well as Mac will as I know quite a few Kindle publishers who use Word to format. Yes, you can sign up for my email list (using the opt-in form in the sidebar) and/or subscribe via RSS Feed / email (links above opt-in form in sidebar). Let me know if you have any difficulty doing so!

  13. Hey, another great post!

    Just a few questions surrounding the legal ramifications of the books.

    1) How do you protect yourself from the author plagiarizing material?
    2) In Eance does the ghost author waive his rights to claim ownership of the materiel?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for all the great work!

    • Hey Matt – Yes, I believe Elance just updated their Terms of Service a few weeks ago to automatically have the rights transfer over from freelancer to client at the end of the project. I always mention in my job descriptions though that I will hold all rights just to be on the safe side though. To protect from authors giving me plagiarized work I run all the books through CopyScape and make sure that no results are found. Hope that helps!

  14. You can use this tool to determine daily sales by sales rank as well. http://www.kdpcalculator.com

    • Hey Dustin – Yes, that site is an option but I don’t think it’s nearly as accurate as the data I’ve laid out in the chart here.

  15. Thank you Thomas for your great post and congradulation for your success. It’s very impressive! I can’t believe you made $13,000 in 3 month with Kindle book. It’s great!
    I publish non-fiction kindle books since the last 6 months. I have now 8 books but I don’t make a lot of money. I’m selling about one book every 2 days. I guess I’m not successful in choosing profitable book topics even if I do a lot of research, I analyse books ranking and create appealing book cover. I also do a lot of marketing outside of Amazon. (It’s very time consuming and it doesn’t seem to help a lot.) Do you have some tips for me ?
    Your story was a huge inspiration. It is very encouraging.

    Thanks for the valuable information! I look forward to your future posts.

  16. Oh! what a informative presentation of download per days of kindle books. Discover why over 6500 eBook publishers are already using this tool to crush it on Kindle.
    It allows you to create; format and publishing kindle books to the live marketplace all within one central control panel. No need to learn weird coding, or risk losing files, or waste days going back and forth with the Kindle approval team. In fact, you don’t even need MS Word to create your books anymore! With kindle direct publishing you can easily publish your books and reach millions of readers while maintaining complete one central control panel.

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