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Determining how competitive an Amazon Sales Category is can help you figure out if you want to attack that market or not. There are a few ways to gauge the strength of a category but the most effective is to check the Amazon Sales Rank of the books in that category.
You can get a good baseline of how many book you would have to sell to rank in that category by checking the sales rank for the books in the top 10 as well as #25, #50, #75, and #100. Different categories can require vastly different sales ranks to break into the top ranks.
For instance, in the Pacific Rim category, the top book has a sales rank of 24,000, the number ten book has a sales rank of 150,000, and the number 100 book has a sales rank of 890,000. Compare this to the Quick and Easy category, where the top book has a sales rank of 480, the number ten book has a rank of 2,100, and the number 100 book has a rank of 17,000.
This means your book Pacific Rim cookbook could be ranked #1 or your Quick and Easy cookbook might not even be in the top 100, even if they had the exact same sales. Of course, if you do manage to get ranked in Quick and Easy it will drive a lot more readers to your book than if you were ranked in a smaller category.