Happy Birthday, book!

Happy Birthday, book!

This post is titled 'Happy birthday, book' since I'm writing this a year after self-publishing my first book on Amazon. The writing of it was always more of a hobby project for me and I did not expect to sell a large quantity of these books. I mean, not only is retro computing by itself still a bit of a niche interest but also within the group of retro computing enthusiasts the number of people wanting to program a particular system is even smaller. Yet, the book sold about three times better than I initially hoped it would do in its first year. And that is compared to what I was hoping for, not to what I was actually expecting; that was a bit more pessimistic.

Now after the first year of sales I thought that it might be interesting to have a look at a break down of the locations where the books were sold. Amazon does not provide me with a list of destination countries of where each book went, but instead shows me from which particular Amazon site each book was ordered. I have collated the totals for each Amazon site using LibreOffice Calc and used them to create the chart below. It shows which percentage of the books was sold through each of the different Amazon websites.

Graph showing the percentage of books sold per Amazon web site

From the chart it looks like most of the books were sold through three of the Amazon web sites; the German site, the US site and the UK site - in that order. That the book sold well in Germany and the UK is not a surprise as the Amiga was always a popular machine in those countries. The fact that the book sold well in the US is more of a surprise as we are always told that the Amiga never sold particularly well in the States.

Or is there more to it than meets the eye?

One thing to keep in mind regarding the book's sales numbers for the US website is the number of "third-party" sales. When an Amazon printed book is sold through a non-Amazon website then this a "third-party" sale, which always goes through the US site - regardless of which country the non-Amazon website is operating in. This could well mean that a Dutch reader who has bought my book from the Dutch bol.com website gets incorporated into the total number of US sales.

Something similar is happening with the German Amazon website. Most of the items on the Dutch Amazon website redirect to the German website. If that same Dutch reader bought the book from the Dutch Amazon website then that sale is likely to have been added to the German total. Similarly I don't get to see any numbers for the Scandinavian countries, places where the Amiga has always been a popular machine. Sales in these countries may well be counted as part of the UK sales or the US sales.

So where does that leave us in the end?

Unfortunately not really that much wiser regarding the exact split of the sales between the various countries. But the breakdown between the different websites still tells its own tale, which does seem to follow the Amiga's popularity.

Talking about the Amiga's popularity and how the book sale matches that; there is one more Amazon website on my totals list that I have not mentioned so far; the Japanese Amazon website. Which shows a total of "none", which is why I have not mentioned it before. That total of "non" does follow the system's popularity in Japan quite closely though...

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