It was a hot news story with everyone from Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and Gawker, to the , the Daily Mail, and the Los Angeles Times bemoaning the fact that such a deplorable (yet clickbait worthy) ebook was generating so many sales. One excitable commentator even went so far as to suggest that it was a sign the second Holocaust was imminent.
If you're like me then you may have ignored the story, which means that you missed the detail that was bogus on several levels. The copies of Mein Kampf mentioned in the story were only technically best sellers in certain specific categories but not in the Kindle Store overall.
I skipped that story last week because I was busy with CES 2014, but David Gaughran took a deeper look and he discovered that the particular copy of Mein Kampf was not a best seller - not even after the news broke. This copy of Mein Kampf never actually got into the top 100 titles in the Kindle Store; it peaked at around 800. In fact, until this story broke that copy had barely managed to crack a sales rank of 8,000.
David beat me to this story in part because he knew about a tool which collected sales rank data from Amazon. And it is this tool that I want to bring to your attention.
Retailers like Apple are something of a black box, but it’s relatively simple to track the performance of any book on Amazon. With a tool like KND’s Tracker, you can also view the historical performance of a title, once someone has already added it to the system.
As luck would have it, we have the relevant historical data for Mein Kampf.
This particular edition of Mein Kampf wasn’t selling at all until October 2013, when the publisher dropped the price to 99c – which is hardly surprising given the number of competing editions out there, many of which are available for free.
For those not familiar with the Amazon rankings, this equates to just 10 copies being sold a day – not a bestseller by any stretch of the imagination. (Note to journalists: it took me 60 seconds to find this out.)
I don't know whether David's estimates for daily sales are accurate, but that's not the important detail here. What matters here is how he got the data.
David has reminded us of the value of factual information. Anyone who knew about the Tracker service from Kindle Nation Daily could have looked up this title and they would have seen this story for what it really was: nothing more or less than clickbait.
And for that reason alone I am going to bookmark the Tracker and refer back to it on occasion. It's going into my toolbox along with eReaderIQ. That free ebook site tracks prices in the Kindle Store and serves up a historical timeline of price changes for just about any ebook in the Kindle Store.
Can you think of another tool worth mentioning alongside the KND Tracker and eReaderIQ?