Imagine the chaos if you walked into a bookstore and all the books were stacked on shelves at random, with no way to find the title or even the genre you are seeking. Now consider the world’s largest bookstore, Amazon, with its 30 million titles. Fortunately, Amazon has a categorizing system to sort the books it sells, benefiting both authors and consumers.

Taking time to research and select the top Amazon book categories for your self-published book is not only an essential step in publication, but also an extremely strategic exercise. Each Amazon category contains sub-categories and more sub-categories, allowing authors to dial into the most relevant categories for their book to improve sales rank. This handy guide provides helpful tips for strategically selecting the top book categories for your self-published book to make the most book sales.

Why Top Book Categories on Amazon Matter

When you choose the best categories for your book, it allows your target audience to find it among the limitless titles listed on Amazon. The categories are designated by genre and topic, and from there you can further drill down based on the type of book. Choose the wrong categories and your prospective customers will not only not find your book, but they are likely to select another author’s book instead.

The trick to successfully selecting book categories is to find the sweet spot. Picking categories that are too broad makes it nearly impossible to even show up in the search results – well, maybe on page 50 of search results, but not too many shoppers are willing to go past page three. 

The best-selling books within these large, popular categories are written by successful authors that sell hundreds or thousands of books per day. On the other hand, selecting a tiny niche category in hopes of making the bestseller list won’t do you much good if no one ever searches within that niche. Indeed, your book’s top book categories on Amazon are likely to be found somewhere in the middle.

Here are a few examples of books that were placed in the right category on Amazon:

  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. The author’s best sellers rank is #43 and the eBook reached #1 in all three listed Kindle Store categories. Zevin sells 1,864 eBooks per day.
  • Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora. The eBook has a best sellers rank of #2601 and ranked #1 in two of his chosen categories on Kindle. Zamora sells 68 eBooks per day.
  • The Mediterranean Dish: 120 Bold and Healthy Recipes You’ll Make on Repeat by Suzy Karadsheh. The book ranked #336 and was #1, #2, and #3 in her three chosen categories. Karadshes sells 236 hardcover books per day.

Choosing a Category for Your Book

While preparing to list your book on Amazon’s KDP platform, you’ll be prompted to select two or three book categories to help direct potential customers to your listing. A little-known tip is that Amazon actually allows you to select ten categories. 

To add more categories, you simply reach out to the KDP support team by selecting “Amazon Store & Product Detail Page” and then “Update Amazon Categories.” From there you follow the steps for requesting changes or additions to your categories.

Follow these steps to find and select book categories on Amazon:

  1. Go to the Amazon home page and select “Books.”
  2. On the left margin, find the list of popular book genres and select the one that best fits your book.
  3. On the left, you’ll then see a list of category options. Select the one that aligns with your book.
  4. Now, see the longer list of options to further define your category. Select the best one for your book.
  5. You now have a basic category and some subcategories. From this point, you can start researching other top sellers in this realm. See which categories the bestselling books are using and create a list.
  6. You may select up to ten categories for your book. A good strategy is to select a couple of the large, popular categories, then select the rest from more specific niche categories.

Note categories can differ slightly for Kindle. Use this link to start your category search for Kindle vs. print books in your particular marketplace.

To view the entire list of book categories, check out the BISAC Subject Headings List. Select your main category and scroll through the options for that category.

Importance of Book Quality for Selling on Amazon

Always keep in mind that no matter which categories you select for your self-published book, it won’t make a lick of difference if your book isn’t properly edited and formatted. A poorly edited book will probably garner some bad reviews, which can destroy your future sales. To avoid this risk, do not skip the all-important editing and proofreading steps in the publication process. 

Publish Your Book with Gatekeeper Press Today

If you are preparing to publish your book and have a sincere desire to produce a top-notch product, consider partnering with Gatekeeper Press. Our expert editing and design teams are ready to help polish your manuscript so your book has the best chance for success. Call us today or contact us online!