“With an estimated 68% to 83% of market share in e-book distribution,1 neglecting Amazon in nonfiction book research is not an option.”  – Sylvia Melena

You selected the perfect nonfiction book topic.

You brainstormed ideas of what to include in your chapters. But deep down inside, you feel like something’s missing. You know there should be more.

What else can you include?

Where can you get more ideas?

And how can you ensure your content is competitive and resonates?

There are many places you can glean ideas and market information. In this article, I share the best one: the Amazon marketplace.


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Amazon’s Jaw-Dropping Book Sales Statistics

Amazon holds an estimated 68% and 83% of the market share in e-book distribution.2

As I share these statistics, please know that data available about Amazon’s share of book sales doesn’t come directly from Amazon. Therefore, they’re usually very rough estimates and can vary significantly depending on the data collection source and methodology.

However, one thing is sure. All data sources point to Amazon being the Behemoth of book sales.

Amazon Helps You Write for Impact and Sales

Amazon is a marketplace.

People searching for books on Amazon are in buying mode.

If you do your research correctly, you’ll tap into a wealth of information about the people actively seeking to purchase a book about your topic. The data you gather lets you look into the heart and mind of your ideal reader, which helps you write a life-changing book that sells.

Therefore, if you’re pressed for time and want to focus your time and energy on one source, make it Amazon.

Here’s how to cull the vital information you need for your book chapters.

Browse in a Private Window

Using a private window:

  • Pull up Amazon,
  • Click on “Books,” and
  • Type your book’s main topic in the search box.

Amazon will generate the top search results for books on your topic.

You can collect valuable information for building your book writing and marketing plan from several places on Amazon. Let’s look at two critical ones.

The Amazon “Look inside” Gives You Book Chapter Ideas

Click on the book cover of the top search results, then click on “Look inside” and scroll to the book’s Table of Contents (TOC).

Table of Contents

The TOC will show you all the book’s chapters and hopefully give you insight into the topics covered in each chapter.

Read each chapter title, identify the central topic, and determine if it’s one that:

  • You can speak about confidently because of your work, education, or life experience, and
  • Is relevant to your book.

If you answer “yes” to both, jot down the topic on a sticky note and slap it onto your wall. Do this for all the chapter titles in the book.

Continue this process for a handful of the top organic search results (not for “sponsored” search results). This will ensure that you get the information people are looking for.

Do these with just enough books to stimulate your existing knowledge. If you look inside too many books, you may end up with an overwhelming number of ideas.

Amazon Book Reviews Help You Write Powerful Chapters

Amazon book reviews reveal your ideal reader’s problems, needs, and wants, which help you write the perfect book for him.

Read both negative and positive reviews. The negative reviews will tell you the guidance, tools, and resources people are looking for that the book failed to provide. This failure is a golden opportunity for you to deliver.

As you go through the reviews, jot down each missing tip, tool, resource, or topic onto a sticky note and place it on your wall.

When you’re done with the negative reviews, start looking at the positive reviews and extract the ideas, tips, tools, and resources from the book that delighted your ideal reader.

Using Amazon reviews gives you a wealth of data that tells you a lot about your ideal reader and what she considers a great book. This data will help you start with a great product, the most important part of your book writing, self-publishing, and marketing journey.

You’re Not Stealing Other People’s Content

This exercise is not to steal other people’s content. You’re not writing down their content verbatim.

You’re looking inside their TOCs to jog your memory and draw inspiration for what to include in your book’s chapters. If the topics you discover are ones that you’re well-versed in and can speak to with confidence, jot them down so you can include them in your nonfiction book outline.

The reality is that there aren’t many new topics being published. What makes things new and fresh is your perspective – the way you frame, package, and market the concepts. Your unique perspective and experience invigorate old topics and give them new life.

Your ideal reader doesn’t buy your book for the topic’s novelty; she wants your solution to her problem.

Don’t Get Stuck in the Research

Amazon is an excellent source of inspiration and market validation. However, because of the tremendous volume of books published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform each year, you can easily get stuck in research mode.

Move quickly, don’t overthink it, and don’t get stuck. Organize all your sticky notes and use them to write your nonfiction book outline.

As the hottest marketplace for e-book sales, Amazon can provide you with endless ideas and information to inform your book writing, self-publishing, and marketing. It’s not the only source you can draw inspiration from. However, it’s one you don’t want to neglect, as it can help you write a book that your ideal reader will buy, love, and find valuable. And that translates to impact and business growth.

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About Sylvia Melena

SYLVIA MELENA is the Founder and CEO of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting, training, and nonfiction book coaching company. She is also the international award-winning author of Supportive Accountability: How to Inspire People and Improve Performance and the former Vice President of the San Diego Book Awards Association.

As an unknown author with zero platform, Sylvia’s first book became a #1 Amazon Best Seller, sold thousands of copies across five continents in its first year alone, and was used to train leaders in university and workplace settings. It also gave her exposure in the Society of Human Resources Management HR Today, Entrepreneur, the Human Performance Association, My Quest for the Best, LEADx, Fit Small Business, and other outlets.

Supportive Accountability book by Sylvia Melena


1, 2“Ebook Industry News Feed: The Latest Updates on Digital Books.” About eBooks, August 8, 2022. https://about.ebooks.com/ebook-industry-news-feed/. Date accessed August 14, 2022.  Data based on polling of publishers conducted by About eBooks.

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