Amazon Charts ranks books by what people are actually reading

The company's new system surfaces user data in new ways.

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Rob LeFebvre
May 18th, 2017
In this article: amazon, applenews, gear, internet

Bestseller lists like the one at the New York Times measure a book's success by how many copies its sold. What it doesn't do is tell you how many of those books are being read, nor how fast. Amazon Charts aims to fix this problem with a new, weekly bestseller list that will show you which top selling physical, electronic and audio books are actually being read and borrowed. The data-based Charts also includes some analysis, like which titles were pre-ordered the most or which Kindle books were read the fastest.

Amazon claims that Charts is the first to rank books by the average number of daily Kindle readers and Audible listeners each week. You can switch between the Most Read and Most Sold rankings on the web page, too. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is currently at the top of the Sold and Read charts for fiction, of course. Neil Gaiman's American Gods is number three on the Most Read chart and James Patterson and Maxine Paetro's 16th Seduction sits in the same spot on the Most Sold list. Even Amazon's Echo devices are in on the fun; just ask Alexa what the most popular books are for the week and she'll list them for you out loud.

Amazon Charts seems like a no-brainer way to track what we're reading using big data. Reader behavior is probably more indicative of a book's popularity than just number of units sold. "Amazon Charts is exactly what we need," said crime writer Patricia Cornwell in a statement. "Exciting and forward thinking, it will accurately represent what people are reading and investing their time into."

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