When writing reader reports, it would be beneficial to include these elements. If our work is published together, this information will be necessary for retail buyers – they often request it, especially in North America where shelf space is limited. Retailers often need to return a book in order to make room for another one, so it’s crucial to know how your book fits into the market.

Avoid saying “There is nothing else like this book on the market” because that will only elicit the response that no one else has been brave enough to try and sell a book like yours. Instead, think about which books you would want yours to sit next to on the shelves.

This may not be as important for fiction, but it is crucial for non-fiction that can be categorised. Even within fiction, genres can help create a more targeted comparison with similar titles. If possible, choose three books that we can use to gauge if our marketing team has the same vision in mind as you do for your book’s image.


  • Relevant titles: When listing relevant titles, please only include ones that have been published within the last two to three years. There are two common mistakes to avoid. First, do not mention competing titles that have low sales or seem unpopular; most bookstores will only stock a couple of titles in your genre anyway. To get an idea of sales, you can check their Amazon ranking. Any title with a rank under 50,000 is suitable for comparison, while anything higher may be too niche for physical stores to carry. On the other hand, comparing yourself to bestsellers as a first-time author is also unwise and often backfires. Mentioning books like The Secret or The Da Vinci Code will likely lead to immediate dismissal from buyers who have heard these comparisons too many times before. Ideally, at least one of the competing titles you mention should be from the last three years.
  • Details: Enter author, publisher, 13-digit ISBN starting 978, date of publication, page extent and price. Check on Amazon for details.
  • Where to find them: When searching for books on a particular subject, it is best to use Amazon rather than relying on bookstores or libraries. These traditional resources are likely to have a limited selection compared to the vast number of titles available online. Even your own bookshelf may not be helpful, as you may only have an outdated edition with a different ISBN that has low sales according to Nielsen, which tracks book sales. Fortunately, there are software programs available that can help you find similar books if you have trouble locating them in Amazon’s subject categories.