Secret Method to Choosing the Best Amazon Categories


The Amazon book categories you choose will have a direct effect on whether or not you become an Amazon bestselling author.

Choose the wrong one, and no matter how many books you sell, you won’t become an Amazon bestseller.  Choose the right one, and you could become a daily bestseller with minimal marketing or effort – yeah, it can be that easy…but only if you know what you're looking for.

In truth, there is a lot more to choosing Amazon book categories.  There are secret kindle categories that Amazon doesn’t tell you about when publishing, and the simple fact that you can actually be listed for 7 extra categories legitimately.

That’s right, not just two or three categories like 99% of authors think. More importantly, Amazon has made some changes to the way they do Categories.

And in this article, I will show you all of that, plus more.

There’s also an award winning author tool that will do all of this for you as well, saving hours of work by showing every possible Amazon Category in one list.

What Do You Need to Do to Become a #1 Bestselling Amazon Author?

Being a number #1 bestseller on Amazon isn’t just about the cool points, it also helps you sell more books as well.

However, how does an author not only ensure they make that rank, but keep it too?  Well, let’s dive into how Amazon chooses which book is the #1 bestseller of a category.  It all starts with your book’s Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR).

Amazon assigns the ABSR of a book based on how many sales or downloads it has had over a certain period of time as compared to all other books on the Amazon market. With this, if you have an ABSR of 1000, then it means that at that point in time, there are 999 books on Amazon selling better than you.  If you have an ABSR of 1,000,000, then it means there are 999,999 books selling better than you.

So, if your book has the LOWEST ABSR of all books that are attached to an Amazon category, then you are the #1 best seller in that category. It is that simple.

So, choosing your kindle categories or book categories will have a direct effect on whether or not you become a bestseller.

Here’s an example:

If you choose a category where the #1 book in that category has an ABSR of 2,000, then you’d need to have an ABSR or 1,999 or less in order to be the new #1. Using my kindle calculator, you’d find out that you’d need to sell over 90 books per day to reach that.

However, if you choose a category where the #1 book has an ABSR of 70,000, then all you need is an ABSR of 69,999 or less.  Again, using my calculator, that’s only 3 books a day.

Big difference, right?  90 books vs 3 books?

So, the category you choose has a DIRECT effect on whether you’ll become an Amazon Best Seller and get that attractive bestseller tag. Now, let's look at how to find the best Amazon categories for your book or ebook.

How to Find the Amazon Book Categories

There are two steps to finding out how to choose a good kindle category or Amazon book category. Follow the steps below or listen to our podcast episode for finding the most worthwhile book categories.

For this, I will be using an example.  In this example, I will be trying to find a good category for a language book:

Step 1: Research Potential Book Categories

Did you know there are over 16,000+ Amazon Categories?  But sadly, Amazon doesn’t just list them all in one spot somewhere (except that this program does, incase you want to see all 16,000+)- if they did, I’d be a super happy camper.

Instead, we need to ‘find’ pertinent but niche categories.

So, to start this, we’ll begin by typing into the Amazon search box any words to describe our book. Our goal is to get a list of books that are similar to our book.

I will then systematically go through each book and check their category string links like below:

Doing the above, I checked out other books and found the following categories:

  • Language Experience Approach (Kindle Store)
  • Education Reference Books
  • Language Instruction – Miscellaneous (Kindle Store)
  • Foreign Language Study & Reference (Kindle Store)
  • Linguistics Books
  • Test Preparation Books
  • Pedagogy (I actually had to look up what this word meant..haha)
  • Study & Teaching (Kindle Store)
  • Words, Language & Grammar Books
  • Memory Improvement (Kindle Store)

Step 2: Check the #1 Best Seller in that Category

Now that we have a list of potential categories, it’s time to see which one has the best chance of making me a consistent bestseller.  To do this, just click category link on a book's sales page. This will take you to the list of Bestsellers for that Category.

Next, click on the #1 best selling book in that Amazon book category.  Now, go down to its ABSR and record that number next to the category name in your notes. This is the ABSR number you’d need to beat in order to be the #1 bestseller.

Once you have a list of all the categories and their #1 best seller ABSR, place them into the Kindle Calculator below or here and it will tell you how many books you’d need to sell today in order to be the #1 best selling author in that category.

Discover how many kindle books an author is selling by entering their kindle best seller rank:

Once you’ve done that, look over your list and choose the ones that best represents your book and have the highest ABSR.

Using my example above, I got the following results:

Amazon Book Categories

CategoryABSRBook Sales To Be #1
Language Experience Approach10,56715
Education Reference368237
Language Instruction - Misc.19.76113
Foreign Language Study & Reference268386
Study & Teaching15,30414
Words, Language & Grammar1,81094
Memory Improvement368237
Test Preparation155723

Looking at this list, my best kindle categories for becoming a #1 bestseller are:

  1. Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Reference > Foreign Language Study & Reference > Language Instruction > Miscellaneous
  2. Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Reference > Words, Language & Grammar > Study & Teaching

Now, if my book was categorized for these two, all I’d need to do is sell about 13 books and I’d be #1 🙂

*Don’t forget there are different Category strings for ‘books' and ‘Kindle books' on Amazon.  They look like this:

Books: Books > Reference > Words, Language & Grammar > Study & Teaching
Kindle: Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Reference > Words, Language & Grammar > Study & Teaching

And sometimes they have a Kindle version of a category, but not a book version (or vice versa).

So, if you have a soft or hardcover book, repeat Steps 1-3 for ‘books' now that you’ve identified kindle categories.  If you don’t have a print book, then you’re good to go.

Below is a podcast episode of mine, where I go into detail about those steps and more:

Podcast Episode:  The Power of Book Categories

See Every Category Possible – Publisher Rocket’s Category Feature

Remember, there are over 16,000+ categories on Amazon.  To do the steps above correctly, it could take you hours for clicking around and hoping you find the right category.  The worse part is, Amazon doesn't show you every category in one spot.

Well, that's where Publisher Rocket can come in handy.  One particular feature of this award-winning software, is that it lists every possible Amazon category for both book and ebook, and tells those valuable numbers we discussed above.  You can see exactly how many books you need to sell in order to become the new #1 bestseller. This feature is a favorite amongst both publishers and self publishers alike.

You can also arrange the book categories from Easiest to Rank #1 to hardest.  Check it out:

See Lowest Price Here
See, just like that, Publisher Rocket will immediately:

  • List all the categories books show up for
  • Tell you how many books you’d need to sell in a day to be #1
  • Tell you how many books you’d need to sell to be in the top #25

And just like that, you can now select the best categories for your book and know exactly how many copies you’d need to sell in order to be #1 or just to make it in the categories' Top 20 – all with a simple click of a button.

Talk about a major time saver, as well as some good data!

Extra Tips and Tricks to Book Category Selection:

  • The ABSR changes every 2 hours, so what it takes to rank #1 can change as well
  • New books enter the market, which can quickly change a GREAT category into a super hard one.  Keep an eye on your categories and change as necessary
  • Having tools like Publisher Rocket can make selecting or changing categories very fast, efficient and effective.
  • Make sure you are moral about your choices…nothing grates my cheese more than seeing books that don’t belong in a category taking up the spot
  • Don’t forget to do the same research discussed above but for ‘books' if you have a print version

Secret #1: The Categories Shown in KDP Are Not Amazon Categories – They're BISACS

Yup, that's right.  When  you go to publish, that popup box (see below) are actually called BISACs.  You start by choosing from those, and then Amazon decides from that, which Amazon Category to put you in.

Here is a much more in depth discussion of what BISACs are, and how they affect your Categories.

Want more videos like this? Then click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel
That's why, immediately upon publishing,  you need to follow the next Secret, and immediately change your categories, and add more.

Secret #2: You Can Change Your Categories and Show Up for 10

I bet that if you did the above steps, you probably found a couple of category strings that aren’t offered in your KDP dashboard when you went to publish.

Or, you've probably seen that other books are listed in more categories – like 10 Amazon categories!

Well, I've got good news for you.  There is a special way in which you can contact Amazon and not only get them to include your book for whatever category you want, but you can get them to add you to 10 categories.

Want more videos like this? Then click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel
Here are the steps to discussed in the video:

  1. Find a category you want to rank for (copy the full string)
  2. Click to go to this Help/Contact Page for Author Central and sign into your KDP account
  3. Under “Select an issue” select “My Books”
  4. Under “Select details” select “Update Information About a Book”
  5. In the fields that appear, select “Browse Categories”
  6. Then “I want to update my book’s browse categories”
  7. Select the method in which Amazon should contact you:
    1. If you're in the United States, then select Phone and type in your number.  They will call you immediately and change your category or add a category immediately.
    2. If you select “E-mail” type in your name and email address (should autofill in) and write the below:


      I’d like my book, (TITLE) with ASIN number (ASIN NUMBER) to be added to the following category: (PASTE THE FULL CATEGORY STRING HERE)

A category string looks like this:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization

But here's the ticker…even though you will be added to 10 categories, your book's sales page will still only show three.

So, how do you see all of the categories you're listed for?  Or better yet, see what Categories another book is listed for? Well, that leads us to Secret #3.

Secret #3: How to See All of the Categories a Book Ranks For (because they're hidden now)

In late 2017 Amazon made a big change.  Although you can rank for 10 categories (combo between ebook and book), you'll still only see three categories on your sales page.  This set many a savvy book marketers into a tizzy.

They knew their books were listed for more than what they saw, but they couldn't figure out how to see them ALL–until now. In this video, you will see exactly how to see all the categories a book is listed for:

Want more videos like this? Then click HERE to subscribe to my YouTube channel
Here are the steps discussed in the video:

  1. Find your book's ASIN or 10 Digit ISBN number
  2. Place the ASIN or 10 Digit ISBN number into Amazon's search bar and click search
  3. Now, all of the category strings your book is a part of will be listed on the left side and you'll need to click on them to open further down the category string, until you the full Category string

There's another way you can check if Amazon has put your book in the 10 categories you've selected, though.  Nerdy Book Girl has created a tool that tells you which categories your book is in. All you have to do is input your book's ASIN or ISBN-10. You can check it out here.

Now Go Get Listed For Your Ideal  Categories and Become a Bestseller

So, now that you know the power of categories and what it takes to rank #1 for a specific Amazon Book Category, it’s time to take action. Of course, as bestselling author, Jeff Goins says, “before you can launch a bestseller, you need to write a bestseller.” Then you need to implement these steps to find the best book category for your book.

Now, whether you’re using a tool like Publisher Rocket or doing it by hand, it’s important to keep checking your categories so that you can always ensure you stay at #1 and gain those extra sales because of it.

Publisher Rocket can save you hours of researching for the best category. Increase your Category research efficiency and effectiveness for a one-time fee of ONLY $97. Soon, we will be making it a subscription. So lock in your lifetime access now!

Get It Now!

And with that, you should have no problem landing in the #1 bestseller position.


  1. Lindsey on July 2, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    QUESTION: Can you do this when a book is in preorder or do you need to wait until launch?

    • Dave Chesson on July 4, 2020 at 10:41 am

      No, you’ll need to wait.

  2. James Mathis on July 2, 2020 at 10:40 am

    I’ve found your category blogs and videos very helpful. Is there a way I can locate the exact rank for each of my book’s categories instead of just the three that Amazon shows? and am I correct that they only show the three a book ranks highest in?

    • Dave Chesson on July 4, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Not sure how or why Amazon chooses to show the 3 on the page.

  3. Nick Travers on June 24, 2020 at 6:32 am

    Brilliant article. I had no idea any of this even existed. Thank you.

    Question: can publisher rocket drill down to different amazon markets e.g. .com .in. If so, how?

    • Dave Chesson on June 24, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      It can for the US & German market. Soon it will be able to to UK, Canada and later on, Italy.

  4. Phil on June 20, 2020 at 2:57 am

    Thanks so much Dave for this information. However, I have some questions for you.
    1. Do I need to research for categories to place my before I commence, or I should finish writing first before searching for categories to place it while publishing?

    2. Can I also follow these steps to change my books (already published) from a nonperforming categories to the new ones I just researched?

    3. Knowing that eBook don’t usually have ISBN, so what do you quote, instead,while mailing Amazon to change the category of your book which only is on eBook format(no format)?

    4. Am a bit confused about how the calculator woks. From your example above, a book with ABSR of 70,000 needs to sell 3 copies to hit #1 in that category, while another book with 2,000(or 20,000) needs to sell more copies to hit that #1 rank in that category. How does this really work please?

    • Dave Chesson on June 21, 2020 at 12:22 am

      1. Finish writing first.
      2. Yup
      3. ASIN
      4. Because that’s how Amazon’s Best Seller Rank (ABSR) works.

      • Phil on June 22, 2020 at 2:03 am

        Thanks Dave for your prompt response. Please, what does ASIN stands for, and how do I get it? I am relatively new to KDP.
        Thank you.

        • Patty H Scott on June 26, 2020 at 6:39 pm

          Phil, ASIN is an Amazon specific “ISBN” it’s their identifier for books (or products) published or sold on Amazon. It stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It’s how they keep track of inventory and many other details about products, including books.

  5. anne on June 10, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Hi Thanks for the awesome information.
    I have a question – is it possible to get removed from a category?

    • Dave Chesson on June 11, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Yes, just ask them using the same process.

  6. Barb on June 4, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    If you are outside the US, you can sign up with the Talkatone App and get a free US number to use with your KDP/Amazon account. Then you can call in instead of using the email option when wanting them to add categories.

    • Dave Chesson on June 4, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Nice recommendation!

  7. Hafsa on May 28, 2020 at 3:37 am

    Isn’t the calculator global? I mean if it shows that I need to sell 20 books per day, that isn’t restricted to the U.S but like anywhere from the world people buy and my book can get a better rank, right..?

    • Dave Chesson on May 29, 2020 at 12:21 pm

      No, the calculator isn’t global. The Amazon Best Seller Rank is specific to that market. Just because a book is listed with an ABSR of 1 in France, does not mean it is 1 in the US.

  8. doulos on May 27, 2020 at 2:56 am

    I have a book which ranks 3251 in and the calculator gives 65 book sales a day. But it sells average 1-7 copies in a day.
    Why this difference?
    thanks for all the good input you provide.

    • Dave Chesson on May 27, 2020 at 7:35 pm

      That’s because this calculator is for the US market. Not India.

  9. Angus McLean on May 24, 2020 at 5:26 am

    Awesome info Dave, thanks heaps. People like you are what the indie world is all about!

    • Dave Chesson on May 25, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Awe…thank you!

      • David on May 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm

        This worked, other than the fact that author central does not handle this(at least for me) and transfered me to KDP. But, the process was easy and smooth. Thank you!

        • Dave Chesson on May 26, 2020 at 5:43 pm

          Awesome, well glad it worked out!

  10. James Dillon on May 15, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Do you do paid consulting work?

    • Dave Chesson on May 15, 2020 at 7:09 pm


  11. Dave Hamilton on May 13, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    Hey Dave, this calculator doesn’t seem to take the specific category into account?

    i.e. Calculating daily sales for #1 BSR in Business would be wildly different than daily sales for a #1 BSR in “Basket Making”…. right?

    P.S. Basket Making really is a book category. 🙂

    • Dave Chesson on May 14, 2020 at 1:14 am

      That’s because this isn’t a category calculator. It is a calculator for the Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR). Not the Amazon Category Rank. So, put in a book’s Amazon Best Seller Rank into it and you should be good to go.

      • Chris on May 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm

        Hey, do you know if this also applies to the Amazon in Germany, specifically your calculator and Publisher Rocket?

        • Dave Chesson on May 25, 2020 at 12:59 am

          Yup, most definitely does. Also Rocket has the German market in it and has been fine tuned to give accurate information specifically for the german market. The Calculator does not.

  12. PJR on May 10, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve got ten categories ready for Kindle and ten for print, but do they only allow ten for BOTH? I thought I read you’d said ten for both, but can’t see it.

    So, should I get the best FIVE for each and put them in best order of Kindle, print, Kindle, print. . . etc?


    Kindle Store > Categories > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Action & Adventure

    Books > Subjects > Young Adult/Science Fiction & Fantasy/Science Fiction/Aliens

    and so on x10?

    • Dave Chesson on May 14, 2020 at 1:21 am

      You can do more than 10. What the exact number is…well that changes. As for your second question, yes.

  13. calo on May 7, 2020 at 4:47 am

    Hi Dave, Thank you, your topics are always superior. I have a question. I was the first in a certain category , and after a time I got down off my rocket, I went down to the bottom, for example. i was in number in category #1 after few days i get down to #25k how i can keep of my ranks in categories
    thanks again

    • Dave Chesson on May 7, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      In order to regain your ranking in that category, you need to sell more books than the book that ranks #1 in that category.

  14. Ben on May 4, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    If you have a kindle and print format for you book, is it worth it to use different categories for each format in order to maximize visibility?

    • Dave Chesson on May 5, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      I do, and yes.

  15. Paul Hertz on April 30, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Do you help an author with category selection (for compensation)?

    • Dave Chesson on May 2, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Nope…I don’t have any services like that. Sorry.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


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