Amazon Book StatisticsAs any author knows, the answer to the question “How many books have I sold?” can remain all too elusive. Because of many factors (including e-book sales and returns), tracking your book’s sales numbers can be frustratingly difficult to pin down.

Thankfully, Amazon does provide a solution to this problem.

Amazon’s Author Central platform includes book sales data as reported by Nielsen BookScan. While this data doesn’t capture ALL book sales (most information is collected from bookstore sales and Amazon sales), it does provide a really interesting window for an author to finally have some insight into sales trends.

For example, you can see trends by geography. As an author of nine books, I was fascinated to learn that my books have been selling well in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York (I’m from Sacramento).

This information would also come in handy from a marketing perspective to track the results of your marketing efforts. For example, if you had a radio interview in Chicago, you would be able to see if there was a spike in book sales as a result.

And in case you’re not already participating in the Author Central program, you should be! It’s free and Amazon will allow you to update your author bio, import your blog’s RSS feed, view the reviews written for your books, and more.