KDP niche research

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Considering to become your own publisher on KDP? Then you probably want to do some niche research. See Market niches for background information.

Initial niche identification

How to discover niches to begin with?

Start with Amazon categories?

Amazon's categories don't seem to be exhaustive. E.g., Coloring Books for Grown-Ups is mentioned, but not e.g., Coloring Books for Kids, although that is really a nice

Amazon uses several departments for its products, of which books is one. On its turn, books has the following categories:

  • Arts & Photography
  • Biographies
  • Business & Money
  • Calendars
  • Children's Books
  • Christian Books & Bibles
  • Comics & Graphic Novels
  • Computers & Technology
  • Cookbooks, Food & Wine
  • Crafts, Hobbies & Home
  • Education & Teaching
  • Engineering & Transportation
  • Health, Fitness & Dieting
  • History
  • Humor & Entertainment
  • Law
  • LGBTQ+ Books
  • Literature & Fiction
  • Medical Books
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Parenting & Relationships
  • Politics & Social Sciences
  • Reference
  • Religion & Spirituality
  • Romance
  • Science & Math
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Self-Help
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Teen & Young Adult Books
  • Test Preparation
  • Travel

Would this help with discovering niches?

  • It can definitely help with getting general ideas
  • It can help to eliminate niches that you definitely don't want to serve
  • It can maybe help to identify niches with sufficient market size. Maybe because at this level of categories, they are all very big niches
  • It may not help in finding actual niches, as this is somehow non-linear. E.g.: The category of Calendars might look unattractive as a whole (much about this below), but maybe its subniche Calenders for German off-the-road caravan owners might be doing relatively well
  • These categories don't seem to be sufficiently exhaustive - See screenshot. This means that you can't zoom in to a niche using only these categories.

Example search phrases

For now: Just use a search phrase in Amazon. E.g.:

  • Coloring books
  • Coloring books for kids
  • Coloring books for adults
  • Coloring books for visually impaired adults
  • Puzzlebooks
  • Handwriting books
  • Animal coloring book

Niche size - BSR

It is assumed here, that niche size is mostly determined by demand, rather than supply.

One way to estimate niche size, is through Amazon's BSR - Best Seller Rankings: Amazon maintains best seller rankings for various categories of products, including books. Through estimating where a given niche sits in the BSR, you get an impression of the niche's market size.

Ideally, you would like to figure out the exact BSR for the given niche (if there is actually such a thing), and some tools can help with this (to be discusses later), but it can be done simpler using the first page of the result page for a given search phrase. Exclude paid promotions when using these methods:

  • Average the BSRs of the first 5 or 10 books that appear on the Amazon product overview page for the given search phrase
  • Average the BSRs of all books on the first page - Again excluding promoted titles.
  • Quick check: Are there at least 3 titles with a BSR<300.000? [1]

DS Amazon Quick View-plugin

Fortunately, rather than having to click through to each product page to see its BSR, the DS Amazon Quick View-plugin for the Google Chrome browser displays BSRs directly on product overview pages. In this article, I always use this plugin.

About calculating average BSRs

What is the best way to compile BSR numbers? From the main category All, or from the exact category (if available) where your niche would fit? Some observations from the examples below:

  • Products on the result page are mostly sorted from low (best) BSR to high worst)
  • Just like Google Search: When a search query is more specific, it doesn't automatically means that there will be less items: Appearantly, more specific searches can result in more hits, as (I suspect) more products seem to match (in a OR-like fasion, rather than AND-like)
  • When there are more items on the page, the average BSR over the whole page will automatically be lower, as more less-succesful items are included in the count → Use a fixed number of items for counting, like 5 or 10. Besides, counting becomes tiring really quickly. For now, I'll use the first 5 items for establishing average BSRs
  • Probably better to use the overview pages that correspond to the actual category that you're niche seems to fit.

What does the BRS number means?

The lower the average BSR, the bigger the niche. What number to use? In the end, you have to decide for yourself how big the chunk is that you want to bite off.

In general:

  • When the number is higher enough, the niche might be too small to make any sales
  • When the number is low enough, the market is big enough, but this doesn't guarentee sufficient sales, as we haven't explored competitiveness yet.

More specifically:

  • Paul Marles: When there are at least 3 titles with a BSR<300.000, expect about 1-3 sales per month. Publish a bunch of books to compensate for this [2]
  • Paul Marles: Average BSR of less than 300.000
  • The Life Graduate: Average BSR of less than 250.000.


Search phrase All » Adult coloring book. BSR_avg_top5 = 945. BSR_avg_top10 = 3.019. BSR_avg_first_page = 5.914. The first page has 48 non-sponsored items (I only included about 30 of these - it takes too much work)
Search phrase All » Books » Adult coloring book » Crafts, Hobbies & Home » Adult coloring book. BSR_avg_top5 = 867. BSR_avg_top10 = 1.000. BSR_avg_first_page = 2.663. The first page has 24 non-sponsored relevant items

Nice size - #reviews

You probably can also gauge the size of a niche by averaging the number of reviews for products. I heard that about 1 in 35 customers leave a review. However, you can't know if those reviews are old or current without some extra work.

Helium 10 - XRay

There are some excellent tools that makes it much easier and more accurate to estimate niche sizes, including Helium 10's tool XRay:

  • Helium 10 tends to underestimate amounts
  • XRay: Amongst others, it can show the avg BSR per keyword → This might safe a lot of time
  • XRay: Sales over time
  • XRay: Review velocity: #changes in the last 30 days. Maybe as an extra check if a book is currently still popular


In the previous chapter, we explored size and demand for a given niche. Let's now explore the supply-side of the market equation.

This is easy: Just figure out how many results there are on Amazon for a given search phrase:

  • Use the same category as for figuring out niche size - Again: The more specific the better
  • Figures are often given as over xxx results. Just ignore those words and use the number. This is a good reason for using categories that are as specific as possible.

In the two examples above, the figures are:

  • Over 60,000 results → 60.000
  • Over 70,000 results → 70.000.

Market equilibrium

See also