The Amazon Daily Sales Graph

Any author publishing on Amazon has become familiar with the Amazon Daily Sales Graph.  This is supposed to be an incredibly useful graph showing your sales and giving you an estimate of sales in a dollar figure form.  It’s a great theory.

Over the last month, I’ve noticed it is notoriously unreliable.  I am an avid keeper of my own book sale stats.  I record them every other day or so.  The graph and the “month to date unit sales” numbers rarely match.

I noticed it around 3 July.  The graph told me I had sold X amount of books the day before and no books that day.  I started plugging the numbers into my cumbersome, but detailed workbook to figure out things like my retention rate and things and realized that I had not sold X amount of books.  I’d sold more than that according to the month to date unit sales.  Keeping this in mind, I checked that night and the graph showed that I had sold Y amount of books that day.  So I updated the workbook based on the month to date unit sales.  It was still off.  I had still sold more books than what appeared in the daily graph.

Throughout July, I have been trying to stay on top of this difference.  I update my workbook each morning and right before I go to bed at night.  Twice in 30 days the numbers have matched.  Once the month to date has been lower than the graph total says I have sold.  Every other time, the month to date has said I sold more than the graph total shows.

This isn’t terribly important information.  I don’t think it should cause alarm or outrage.  It’s just interesting that Amazon has given us this tool and it only partially works.  I realize that delays in the system account for part of the difference, but sometimes the difference isn’t just two or three books, it’s a dozen or two dozen books off.  The day I did a big promo for Tortured Dreams (the book is free and managed a respectable 700 downloads that day), the graph couldn’t keep up at all.  At one point, the month to date sales showed that I’d given away 400+ copies and the graph showed only 179 (I made a note of it).

I’m still trying to figure out if the error compounds.  At this point, I believe it does.  Just something to think about when looking at the graph of your daily sales (oddly, the day Kindle Unlimited launched, I noticed the graph barely moved and I believed I was having the worst sales day in almost a year, however, this was not the case when I checked the month to date unit sales, it turned out to be rather average, a few days later I noticed the graph had changed for that day to reflect a much better sales day).

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