How many books have been sold and where?
We provide monthly sales figures on your Financials page, by units and value in £ sterling, uploaded at the end of the following month (it's not as simple as online sales, it takes time to gather the information from different distributors around the world). These are trade sales from our regional distributors combined with any you have bought through our distributors or the office, not the number of books bought by readers in that month.
- The exchange rate used changes monthly.
- The figures include sales to authors, (within Office Sales, which may involve a time lag), but no free copies issued to reviewers.
- All ebook sales to all regions go through our North American distributor, and the reporting of those takes about one month, typically. An ebook sold in November to a customer in London, England will appear in the North American column of your Financials page in December.
- The sales are "net of returned books" rather than "gross." "Gross" sales are the total number sold in the period, before returns from shops have been deducted. “Net” sales are the total number sold when the returns from the bookstores have been deducted. Net sales can appear as negative, because orders from over-ambitious retailers are being returned and are often higher than more recent outgoing orders. It is now more cost-effective to pulp returned copies. So the number you know have been sold in a particular month may not be the number shown.
- There is a significant lag between a known purchase in a store and the sale being reported by our distributors. Most distributors report monthly, but there are still a few who report quarterly.
- If one of our distributors is late sending us sales figures, we do not revise earlier figures, but add them into the month we receive them. Sales in South Africa and Australia can seem disproportionately low. Increasingly, most sales here are through online retailers based outside the region. Sales in South Africa are now reported through our UK distributor Orca.
- If you have an Amazon Author Central account you can see your Amazon sales there. These are sales to Amazon customers which Amazon source direct from our warehouses as well as those they source from other suppliers in the distribution network. The sales shown by Amazon may be stock that has already been bought by them or one of their suppliers in previous months, so may have registered on our sales figures earlier than the actual retail purchase. Amazon also gives you access to Nielsen Bookscan sales for your book; more information here.
- The current monthly sales figures, going back to November 2008, are accurate, though there may be slippage from one month to the next. Prior to 2008, they are not, particularly if your book was published before January 2005. The royalty statements, however, will be accurate overall, but we have put in an approximation at times rather than checking every royalty statement for each book. Sales of ebooks prior to November 2011 are not given on the website, but will have appeared on your royalty statement.
- For foreign rights sales go to FOREIGN RIGHTS.