Retailer Reports: A few Thoughts

I’m still in the process of analyzing my new baseline. To do this I am collecting sale reports across all the retailers and distributors that I’m already using. It’s taken more time than I thought it would, for several reasons (some listed below). In the process of collecting reports and putting together a new spreadsheet, I thought I would share a few things I’ve noticed.

  1. Finding the right reports can be a real pain in the neck. They aren’t always easy to find. Or there are so many and the ones that sound like they are the ones I need turn out not to be the one needed. I kept having to go back and forth from the spreadsheets to the website to find a different one.
  2. Createspace reports made me want to tear my hair out. The information displayed on the website was exactly what I needed, only to find that the exported report did not have all the information as the website. I ended up having to copy and paste from the website. ARGH!
  3. Kobo still doesn’t have the ability to generate and download reports from their website? Still, this many years later?
  4. Most of the retailers really stink when it comes to naming the downloaded reports. I had to rename so many of them so I could easily find which ones I wanted later.
  5. Some retailers don’t have detailed reports of what books sell on specific days. You only get by month. Retailers need to step up their game on this. Apple and Amazon, I’m looking at you.
  6. There is definitely consolidation in the ebook retailer area. Several that I had listed in 2014 are now completely gone (ARE, and then several small ones I reached through a distributor). Sad to see income streams go away, even if they were smaller.
  7. Smashwords used to be a rather good sales platform for me. For 2017? It’s literally zero. Wow, Smashwords has really fallen and is not a competitor now, at least not for me.

This has been an interesting process. I’m not an expert in statistics by any means, but already I’m learning a few things that I hope will help me when moving forward.

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3 comments on “Retailer Reports: A few Thoughts
  1. Glad you’re getting back into it. Wish I could have gone to that class with you. I’d be interested in hearing just what you’re tracking in your reports. I agree with you on the reports. I looked just the other day to see what days my sales were made. No such luck, just the month, just like you said.

  2. D J Mills says:

    I agree with reporting problems, especially C/S. Thankfully, I get Kobo sales via Smashwords. Smashwords bookstore sells well for me, don’t discard it. πŸ™‚

    I wrote a program that extracted each sale from the reports into a database, but Amazon keeps changing columns, so now I rearrange each monthly report into correct columns in the spreadsheet, then copy/paste into my database. I hope to eventually find the time to rewrite that program again. πŸ™‚

    I built a spreadsheet listing all distributors with channels and secondary stores but I forgot Pronoun. Now, I don’t need to add that distributor to the list. πŸ™‚

    I never added ARE, but have begun to cross out other small channels that have sadly closed doors. You can have a copy of my distributors list spreadsheet if you want. πŸ™‚

    • JA Marlow says:

      I used to do rather well with not only Smashwords, but also all the retailers I’m using them for distribution. Yet, neither on the website or those distribution channels has done a thing. Weird. In any case, I’m not abandoning Smashwords directly but I will be looking at the distribution channels and see if they are still the best option. Yet another research project. Thank you for th eoffer of the spreadsheet. That will help a lot with that research. I’ll contact you privately. πŸ™‚

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