We know you're authors and have about -378 spare minutes per day, so the very short version of this post is as follows: our Amazon numbers are now derived both from the Amazon reports, and from behind-the-scenes verification. This means typos (such as Amazon’s posted, but very incorrect USD-Rupee conversion rate for December) do not result in bizarre numbers on your ScribeCount dashboard. We are now moving on to Kobo, and will stress test with the help of the users who have sent in tickets, just like we did with Amazon!
Still wondering about the long version? Read on!
For the past few weeks, we've had tickets coming in that said, "ScribeCount is showing free books moved on Amazon, but I don't have any free books."
We carefully collected these reports. We wanted to find the underlying similarities - was it a browser? Was it just people who used a certain type of login? We compared our numbers against the numbers provided from screenshots of Amazon and other sales aggregators.
Where, exactly, were these phantom freebies coming from?
We were so sure that we had made a mistake, introduced an echo into the data, done something wrong, that it took us a while to figure out that our data were actually correct.
Yeah, we did that skeptical look, too.
The development team talked Randall and I through the process of downloading old KDP reports (which, frankly, was an excellent reminder of why we wanted to build ScribeCount in the first place) and we delved into months where ScribeCount showed freebies that shouldn't be there.
And there they were, in the Amazon reports. We hadn't had any free books on Amazon in those months, but there had been free units moved, tagged as price match. Whether or not we thought we had gotten those titles to be free on Amazon, whether or not we had record of a free promo, the data showing up on the ScribeCount dashboard traced directly back to numbers we were seeing in the Amazon reports - whether or not they showed on other sales aggregators, and whether or not they were easy to see on the KDP dashboard.
That really wasn't what we had expected to see. Randall and I were confused, and then a little angry (nothing like finding out you gave away 6,000+ copies of a book you thought you were charging for), and the development team was surprised, and then a little smug (as their software hadn't actually been faulty).
When we started ScribeCount, we wanted to have accurate data so that we could make good business decisions. We wanted to know what had happened over the course of our careers as authors, and move forward in an informed way. We didn't expect that ScribeCount would dredge up secrets from our sales history, but - while uncomfortable - this process is helping us do all of the things we set out to do.
If you are seeing freebies you don't expect, you can follow the steps below to double check the numbers against your Amazon reports.
If you're looking at a month that's in the new, current monthly format, you can sum the numbers that line up with the Free-Price Match:
If the month is much further back, and the reports are only available in the old format, you can see the numbers here:
(Remember, the old report format does each store separately, so you'll have to check each one. Boo!)
If you're not looking for book-level specifics, but instead want to see yearly numbers, you can find them in the historic KDP report:
Questions? Want a walk through? We're here for that! You can contact us by phone or by ticket, and we'll be happy to set up a video call with you to go through reports and make sure our numbers are accurate.