Amazon doesn't really answer questions asked to them directly, so...does anyone know how Amazon determines how to order products in search results? It is not based on actual sales results, which is what I had originally thought. Books that sell terribly are found in the top listings, way ahead of books that sell the best among all the search returns.

This is vexing to me because I wrote a book about the treatment of trauma in victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault, and it's been extremely well-received and highly reviewed. It's one of the top-selling titles on the topic. But when you look up a particular relevant key word in Amazon's search engine, Amazon lists my book waaay below others on the page (and sometimes I'm not even on the first page), and at the top of the page are god-awful, barely-selling books of (I am not making this up)...rape porn!

In other words, Amazon's search function offers rape porn a preferential position among search results, even though they rank in the 650,000th position (or worse). Yes, Amazon not only sells, but preferentially PROMOTES rape porn, even above best-selling titles on the topic of abuse recovery. Clearly, the most desirable positions in search returns are not reserved for the products that actually sell the best.

So how DOES Amazon determine its search return positions? Can a publisher buy off a better positions for their product or something? Anyone know?