It’s working; a group of “web comic geeks” (according to the SF and science blog, io9, part of the Gawker network) wanted to make their self-pubbed title, Machine of Death: A collection of stories about people who know how they will die, a top best seller on Amazon’s sale rankings; it is now all the way to #2 (from a lowly #6,588). UPDATE: The book hit #1 and is at #4, but moving down, after 3 days.
How many orders does it take to move a title into the Amazon top five? Based on this experience, say the authors, just a few hundred a day.
Given that, how much attention should you pay to titles moving up Amazon’s sales rankings? Obviously, there are flashes in the pan (we sometimes see an odd title, like a biology text book, suddenly rise, which tells us that class assignments have been handed out). EarlyWord uses Amazon sales rankings to identify rising demand, but we only report on titles that look like they will continue to rise, or to show the direct impact of recent media attention.