Your first book in a series that you sell on Amazon for $3.99 could be making you $5 in profit. Yes, you read that correctly.
Knowing how to calculate your series read-through and how it ties into your ads and profit is something we recommend for all fiction authors with a book series. This may sound overwhelming, but once we break it down, you will be able to know your series read-through and if you are making a good ROI.
Here’s what we will cover in this article:
Series read-through definition and why it’s important
How to calculate a non-KU series read-through
How to calculate a KU series read-through
What these calculations mean for your ads and profit
What is a Series Read-Through and Why Should You Care?
A series read-through allows for authors to determine how many people are reading their first book and finishing out the series. Even though many of us chose to write so we do not have to do math, this calculation is important in understanding how your series is selling and if there is a price adjustment needed.
While, this calculation cannot describe why your book series isn’t getting the sales you were expecting, it can tell us where. Putting time and resources into a series can cost more than you’re accounting for, so might as well know if the series is producing the sales to earn a profit.
Especially when running Amazon ads, knowing your series read-through can help you know where to price your book and how low to set your cost per click for your campaigns.
There’s two different calculations to do: series read-through for non-Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited. Let’s get into them!
How to Calculate a Series Read-Through (Non-KU)
The series read-through is fairly simple to calculate. You take the sales of the last book in the series and divide it by the sales of the first book in the series.
(Last book sales) / (Book 1 sales) x 100%
Say, your first book sold 362 copies and your third and final book of the series sold 254 copies. You would then calculate it as:
(254/362) x 100% = 70.17%.
This means that 70.17% of people who read your first book are reading through the entire series.
You can also use this formula for book-to-book read-throughs. If you wanted to find out what percentage of readers were reading the second book after reading the first, you would calculate it the same way as above.
For example, if you sold 176 copies of your first book and 140 copies of your second, you would calculate it as:
(140/176) x 100% = 79.55%
This formula can be used for most series and book-to-book read-throughs. If your book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, the calculation will look a bit different.
How to Calculate a Kindle Unlimited Series Read-Through
If you’re unfamiliar with Kindle Unlimited and how it affects your book, sales, and ads, don’t worry, we have a comprehensive guide.
With Kindle Unlimited, Amazon reports page reads, instead of the percentage of the book that has been read, so this is where KENP comes in. KENP (Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) is the number of page reads an author gets through Kindle Unlimited.
To calculate the series read-through, you’ll want to find the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC). You will find this number in your KDP account - we have listed out the steps in our guide here.
Once you get that number, you will need to take your Kindle Unlimited pages read and divide it by your KENPC
For example, if your book had 43,240 pages read and your KENPC is 184, then you would calculate:
43,240 / 184 = 235 total reads.
You would have to make this calculation for any books in a series that you want to use in the previous series read-through equation.
So, if that book had 235 total reads and we used the same equation for the second book in a series to calculate 139 total reads, you would plug those two numbers into our original equation to get your KU series read-through.
Generally, if you have a longer series, then you want to aim for at least a 50% series read-through. If your book-to-book read-throughs are significantly decreasing (10% decrease or more), then there’s a problem. Looking at low reviews and pricing can help to diagnose it.
How These Calculations Relate to Your Ads and Net Profit
This is the biggest question that we want to answer: are your ads making money or hurting your bank account.
Let’s say you have a three-book series where each book is priced at $3.99, and the book-to-book read-throughs are 74% for book 2 and 81% for book 3.
You will then take those numbers and multiply them by the profit you make on each book after ads and other expenses (you can learn how to calculate that in our other blog). After multiplying those numbers, you add up all of those products to calculate how much you are making for each purchase of book 1.
Those calculations will look something like this:
Book 1: $0.75
Book 2: $3.00 x 0.74 = $2.22
Book 3: $3.00 x 0.81 = $2.43
$0.75 + $2.22 + $2.13 = $5.40
This means that you are earning an average of $5.40 for each purchase of book 1 due to readers going through the entire series.
Since you now know how to calculate your series read-through, you need to make sure that you are still making money from your ads. The calculations above are an indication of whether your book is making more than you are paying for ads and other Amazon fees.
Making sure that you’re keeping your cost-per-click low and having a higher conversion can make a large impact on the profit you make from selling book 1.
Time to Calculate!
Now that we have gone through the various ways of calculating series and book-to-book read-throughs and how those calculations tie into your ads, it’s time to look into your KDP account and crunch the numbers yourself.
This helps you get ahead and always forecast when there needs to be a price change, whether it is for your book price or your ads.