New search tip: sort by Most Reviews
I think a lot of times, people go into the Kindle store looking for a “mainstream” book. They want a “People Magazine book”, as I call them: one that would have been reviewed in that publication. They want what they consider a “real book”, a popular book.
You can’t sort in the Kindle store by Avg. Customer Review and find that…you’ll find many faith-based titles at the top of the lists (I think people tend to give those higher reviews), but not necessarily well-known ones.
Sorting by publication date doesn’t work, either. Not only are obscure indies added every day, but publication date is what the publisher puts on it…not when the book was originally published. A bestseller from 1942 may have a 2014 publication date: that’s just up to the publisher to choose. I see people asking sometimes why Amazon doesn’t put the date on there. Well, that’s a surprising amount of work. You’d have to verify that the book was the book you thought it was…that it wasn’t a new translation, or a book with the same name, or that a new introduction hadn’t been added to it. Then, you’d have to search publication records.
It might sound easy, but all of that would add to the cost of selling it, and would introduce another area for error on Amazon’s part…better to let the publisher choose, I think.
Interestingly, a strong indicator is the number of reviews.
I don’t think I’ve seen a book in the Kindle store with, oh, over 5,000 reviews where I hadn’t heard of it.
Up until recently, that hasn’t been a sort option.
I was surprised to see it today…at least for the Kindle Matchbook program books:
That program lets you buy an e-book if you buy (or have bought from Amazon in the past) a p-book (paperbook). That’s only true for a certain set of books…45,297 at time of writing.
Here are the top books that appear:
- Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (at AmazonSmile*) by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent…11,938 reviews
- War Brides by Helen Bryan…5,997 reviews
- The Alchemist – 10th Anniversary Edition by Paulo Coelho and Alan R. Clarke…4,724 reviews
I’m guessing you’ve heard of all three of those…and I might have had the three of them in the window when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore.
Unfortunately, as I was looking around the Kindle store, I wasn’t seeing that as a sort option. It could be that they are just rolling it out, or testing (Amazon does that a lot) to see how it impacts sales and how often it is used.
I did notice something when I did the search!
At the end of the URL (uniform or universal resource locator)…the web address, there was this phrase:
I went to the main Kindle store listing, swapped out the sort at the end with that phrase…and it seems to have worked!
Here are the most reviewed books in the USA Kindle store, based on that:
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins…32,047
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins…32,047
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green…31,372
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James…26,937
- Good Girl by Gillian Flynn…23,221
Certainly, those are bestsellers which have been part of the cultural discussion.
There are multiple things which drive the number of reviews. Here are a few…I don’t have statistics on this, this is just my guess:
- I think more recent books tend to be reviewed more (people don’t usually go back and review a book they read a decade ago)
- I suspect that young people tend to write more reviews than older people
- Degree of emotional reaction to a book (pro or con)
Now, I know some people tend to reject things that are popular, but I think this may be one of the best ways to identify an…impactful book (on society).
I’m certainly going to try this again in other places!
Try it out in areas of your expertise, and imagine if someone had come up to you and asked to read some books so they could be part of the conversation…not necessarily the best books (those might be obscure), but just to understand what the “buzz” is.
I think this tends to work in part because the number of reviews will include other formats…so p-books affect this. That may also mean that indies (independently published books) are at a disadvantage on this, but they generally aren’t going to be those People Magazine books anyway (not yet, anyway).
I just tried it on some other searches, and it does seem to have worked.
Always love to find something sort of hidden like this and share it with you! 🙂 I’m hoping they add it to the dropdowns generally so everybody can use it, but until then, enjoy!
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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.