Oh, Those Terrible Amazon Rankings!

Niece G e-mails self this evening: she is taking a Creative Writing course at Stanford; would self be interested in going with her to attend a reading? She’s thinking of one this Wednesday evening. The speaker is Mohsin Hamid (Self had never heard of him) who wrote The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

And, in weird Pavlovian response, self finds her fingers moving (as if in a trance) to Amazon.com, where she types in a search for The Reluctant Fundamentalist and — oh, oh, self’s eyes go very round at the discovery that this book is ranked

# 4,130

Which is absolutely the BEST ranking self has ever seen, for any book she has ever searched for on Amazon.

(No, wait, that’s not absolutely true, for now self feels the itch to try one other search, and that is for a book that friend Sandy pressed on her last month, a book called The Secret. Tee-hee, tee-hee, that book’s ranking is an amazing # 2,091)

And, do you know what comes next, dear blog reader? Absolutely. Self then tries googling her own book, and this is the ranking of Mayor of the Roses, as of 10 PM this evening:

#878, 244

And, would you believe, self is now almost unaccountably happy! For above ranking is a big improvement over her book’s rank of a couple of months ago.

Tra-la-la-la-la . . .


4 responses to “Oh, Those Terrible Amazon Rankings!”

  1. Amazong rankings don’t reflect the pass along rate of books. For instance, my dearest mother, (who is visiting) had asked me last week to mail her my copy of “Mayor of the Roses”. Now she is here and is presently, this very moment, reading your book!


  2. I hope she got past the first story 🙂

    What kind of places does she like to visit when she’s with you?

    My Dearest Mum is coming in two months. Actually, she comes with itineraries all made out for her by her friends, and these may include “drop by to visit daughter” only in the last week, so I shouldn’t worry 🙂


  3. 800,000’s really pretty good if you’re competing against things like The Secret.
    It’s probably pretty respectable when compared with other short story collections on Amazon. Grace Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute is 200,000. It was an enormously influential collection, has a major publisher with a cover using a Hopper painting, and she died last year so has been in the news some. Richard Ford’s Rock Springs is 89,000 and virtually every writer I’ve met who’s under forty raves about the thing.
    My guess is that the difference between 800,000 in the rankings and 200,000 is probably less than a thousand copies sold on Amazon.


  4. I think I will go with my niece to the Mohsin Hamid reading this Wednesday as my niece tells me that her best friend read his book and HATED it — ha ha ha ha! I think a controversial author is very entertaining! So, the reading is free, it’s at Stanford on Wednesday night, I can post details if anyone else is interested . . .


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