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All my sales (and borrows) numbers are estimates. I stopped tracking around 300,000. At that time 95% were sales as it was pre-KU. I write very long so can earn as much on a borrow as a sale at $4.99, and many sales are traditionally published books or audiobooks or books on sale, on which the royalties are very low. Audio, for example--my royalty on a unit can literally be 30 cents in some cases. Also, Amazon Publishing pays the same royalty whether it's a sale or a borrow, so there's no point breaking it out. I've found the only number that really counts is income. I divide that number by an average to come up with an approximate number of books/audiobooks sold or borrowed. Same difference as far as I'm concerned. And KDP puts the units sold and pages read in the same column, which makes it virtually impossible for me to count them up anyway. So I just look at the bottom line.

Yes, borrows cannibalize sales, at least they do for me. I was out of KU for about 6 or 7 months last year, then put my books back in, so I can state that with some precision as I could see the before/after numbers. Unless it's a new release, about 60-75% of my units moved come from borrows. An average book for me is about 500 KENPC, which gives me about $2.50.

People do it differently. I don't see why you wouldn't count borrow-equivalents. The money spends the same, and people are reading the books and you're being paid for it. But for my own purposes, I only really track dollars. Any "sales/borrows" figures I give are approximations, because I can't see any way those numbers matter.
 

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I actually have a pretty good idea about my full reads. I went back into KU about 10 days before KU2 started with one series (3 books). I saw their number of borrows per day over that period, and then, once KU2 began, I saw the page reads. The page reads divided by the number of KENP/book gave me . . . right about the same numbers as for the previous week. That and reviews (I very rarely get "DNF" reviews) told me that most readers read my books all the way through. They may hate a character, they may write a dissertation about it, but they read the book.

I've also been able to see, because of being out of, then in KU, how much cannibalization KU causes. In my case--a LOT. At least 50% of my sales. On the other hand, I get borrows that would NOT otherwise be sales. Net gain.

I don't track because the numbers of "sales" or "reads" are kind of meaningless due to money. For example, I did track the first 3 months of two releases, one tradpubbed and one indie, last summer, and another set of two releases, also one tradpubbed and one indie, last winter. Each of these was two books published about a month apart. Overall, I found I had 40% more borrows/sales (both counted the same--earning the same) on the tradpubbed books, but made 60% more money on the indie books. That has changed over time, as the tradpubbed books get more push.

What matters most to me? How much I make on a book. Besides, tracking is kind of meaningless. I can tell, broad-brush, everything I need to know. For example: I have one series that is sort of "evergreen" without promotion, and also performs the best in audio. I have one series that does consistently well because it gets pretty consistent promotion. I do very well in German. My audio drops precipitously when I haven't had something out for 3+ months, and I need to fix that. Etc.

I used to do corporate stuff where I looked at figures a LOT. I found that unless I were drilling way down, the macro level tended to give me the most information. Actually, I probably get my best information from reviews--the qualitative--rather than the quantitative, beyond general level of rank/money.

Besides, what I really care about is that I make enough so I don't have to get a real job. My income has actually been surprisingly consistent over the past 3 years, much as I always fear it will fall off a cliff. So I don't track.
 

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Oh, and those Amazon reports are very long and complex, and like I said, they put the number of sales into the SAME column as the number of pages read. I'm sure I could set up pivot tables and pull things out and re-sort it, but I'd have to refresh my memory and work at it, and it would take a bunch of time. I only have 20 books, but there are however-many stores and a bunch of lines for every book in each store and...no, thanks. Pain in the neck.

Do I wish they would provide year-end reports with total sales and pages read for each book, and total dollars earned on that book? Sure. But I don't wish it enough to do the work to get that info myself. :)
 

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So--are folks saying that it's not helpful for other authors to post how many sales/sale equivalents they've had when they share their strategies and path to success? I've always taken the opposite view. If somebody's sharing marketing advice or whatever, I want to know whether they actually sell books, and to what extent. But no?
 
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