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April 29, 2008



I think you make a mistake in using Amazon rankings, which are not very transparent and take into account the sales of other books compared to yours.

You should ask your publisher to provide you with Nielson BookScan sell through numbers, which track actual sales of actual books through most book retailers in the U.S. I'm sure Princeton University Press has access to these numbers either directly or through their distributor.

In my experience, positive reviews lead to almost instantaneous spikes in sell-through, but ads less so. Still, the NYT Book Review is a great platform. Se if you can get several weeks work of BookScan data and see what you discover. Good luck!


I completely agree with the previous poster. Also, what absolute amounts are we talking about? To make a 4-hour resolution meaningful you would have to be selling something like multiple books per hour, or thousands per month through Amazon alone.

Perhaps that's true for America, but I doubt it is the case for European Amazon departments. My suggestion: the two or three changes in your German site ranking correspond to two or three sales of your book, which are then 'smoothed out' by Amazon's algorithm. And during this period you did not sell a book in France.

Keep in mind that with the current dollar value, it is attractive for Europeans to buy English books from If you're lucky, they even send the book from their European departments, giving you dollar price and euro shipping speed.


Re: They don't sell many books in English, and they don't sell your book themselves, they just provide a list of vendors. I suspect they calculate their ranks of books in English only very rarely to have something "significant."

John V

What about absolute sale numbers?

It's entirely possible that your total sales would move more than your sales rank would indicate if other books experienced high sales at the same time.

matt Lister

On Amazon sales, the sale of just a very few books in a day can change the numbers by quite a lot. So, it's hard to know what they mean. But, a fairly regular ranking of around 15-20K is _very_ respectable for an academic book from an academic press- you'll find very few that do better than that for any period of time. Most are in the hundred thousands or even millions.


dif-dif has good properties asymptotically where normality is fine. with such a sample, you have a lot of fat tails and extreme problems. you just get noise.


I am French and I bought your book on a week ago, so you have to know that French people do not necessarily buy their books on When I am looking for a book in english, I prefer to go on where there is a larger choice of books.


There was a (in general positive) review of the book in the NZZ last week...that might explain higher sales in German speaking countries resp. via the comments by the others regarding the sale statistics are probably more important.


How come there are still no reviews for the book on even though it came out last September? From my limited observations, books with several detailed reviews tend to sell better than books with no reviews (or books that only have a few brief reviews). Maybe you can make some grad students read it and post reviews :)

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Keep in mind that with the current dollar value, it is attractive for Europeans to buy English books from If you're lucky, they even send the book from their European departments, giving you dollar price and euro shipping speed.

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