The Secrets Behind Book Categories on Amazon

by | Oct 2, 2014 | Book Marketing Basics

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Amazon Categories - blog_pinDid you know that Amazon is actually two websites? Well, it’s probably more than that, but for books, it’s two sites: one for the eBook and one for print. The thing is, it’s not evident that this is the case. Why does it matter? When you’re picking a category on Amazon it’s important to know that you have more than a few options.

First, let me take you through the whole idea behind the Amazon category selection.

Amazon allows you up to two categories per book, so two broad categories. But you don’t want broad, you want narrow.  For example, for my book: How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I picked a narrow niche within the “business/marketing” category. I picked “direct marketing,” which was a subset of that broader genre and  (at the time) it only had 41 other books in it which meant that it was an easy category to dominate. If you can dominate a category (meaning be number one) you can start to trigger the Amazon internal algorithm to get more book exposure.

In my classes on this topic, I’ve shared this link:


Which takes you to this page:

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The blue links take you to a dropdown menu which will help you delve into that category even deeper. Traditionally this has been the best way to find your narrow, niche, category. But now there’s another way, and in a minute I’ll show you why this really matters.

So, head on over to and on the search bar, highlight “Kindle Store” and click GO. Don’t put anything in the search bar. What this does is it drops you to the eBook side of Amazon, so the other half of the Amazon book site. You’ll see a page that pops up that looks similar to this:

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Though, obviously the books will change depending on what’s on their internal bestseller list.

From here, click Kindle eBooks on the left hand side. Now you can start doing searches based on your market/genre. But here’s the surprising thing. Most authors don’t use this method. How do I know this? Well, have a look. Let’s say you’re a business author and you have a book on business leadership. Here is the page you’ll wind up on. Note the categories off to the left.

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Now let’s dig deeper. Let’s say you have a book on business life. So anything related to health and business, business organization, even work-life-balance. Here is the page you’ll see:

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Now, take a closer look at the category “work life balance” … it only has 132 books in it. Is that possible? Yes, it is. The reason is that many publishers don’t know to do a second category search this way so they’re putting their books in overly crammed categories that seem to fit. Here’s another thing. The categories you’ll get doing this search look different than the ones you’ll get using that other URL I shared so it’s a good idea to do both searches.

Remember, you are allowed broad categories but you want a narrow subset of those categories. Like the Work/Life/Balance one that has few competing titles.

Also, remember if your book is fiction that themes are very active on Amazon now. We did a post on that a while back. See:

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