Many new sellers get excited when a new listing sells but ponder another listing that sits there for seemingly endless months. It is not a hit and miss happening that some may believe. It has all to do with velocity. Getting to know and interpret the Amazon Sales rank is probably the most important information you will need to learn. The ability to estimate when an item will sell could make the difference of buying it or leaving it on the table.
The Amazon sales rank can be found in the product details section on any sales page. Scroll down a bit till you find publisher info, number of pages, etc. This number can change frequently, sometimes even up to every hour but longer ranking items usually are a little more stable.
Amongst Amazon's over 5 millions titles listed it pays to know if anyone has actually purchased this book in the last year. The sales rank can be as low as #1 or high as that illusive five million. The lower the number, the faster you can expect a sale providing you have priced your listing competitively. If you list an item that has a rank of under 2-3000 you can usually expect it to sell within hours. If it is under 100 it could sell by the time you have listed it and flipped over to your email. Any listing that has a rank or N means that not even one has been sold in a year. If there are 32 items listed then walking away from that purchase at any price might be a good idea. Inventory criteria is going to be different amongst sellers but learning to establish your own boundaries are important for inventory space as well as your profitability.
It doesn't mean that you should rule out all high selling ranks. Some judgment will serve you well. If an item is in such short supply that that are none to sell then this will of course affect the rank. There could be buyers out there but none for sale. Be sure to do your research before listing it for 19.99 when in fact it could bring in much, much more. Keeping an eye on Amazon's published buyer waiting list could be more profitable than you think.