Comments: 25
BrokenTune 8 months ago
Well ranted!

My Amazon recommendations are absolutely biased toward the self-pubbed novels and other things I have no intention of ever buying. And because there is no "Don't show me this crap" option you literally can't get rid of it. Sure, you could adjust your list of purchases to base your recs on but that literally makes very little difference.
And don't get me started on recommending different editions of the same effing book that I have just bought... Numpties, the lot!
It's been a while now that I've only ever used the Amazon sites (primarily for Marketplace purchases) if I already *knew* what I wanted and there wasn't a better way of getting it -- as well as the Amazon wishlist thing as a backup for my "real" book catalogue. I thought their insistence on crowding *search* pages with stuff I have no intention of buying in a million years was the last straw -- looks like I was wrong and they managed to top even that. Oh well. Way to go to drive away even more of my business ...
Their recommendations have always been useless for me.
Murder by Death 8 months ago
I used to love their also bought recommendations for finding new titles - especially after I moved here and could no longer browse my local brick and mortar bookstores. But I started noticing the disproportionate number of self published crap titles awhile ago, and stopped using it. I went and looked again last week and noticed it was even worse. Completely useless and almost entirely self pubbed crap.

Yet another reason to just not use them anymore. I'm thankful I discovered sites like bnccatalist and edelweiss - now I just browse the publisher catalogs and skip the middleman altogether. Makes my soul feel better too.
To be fair, a lot of good books are self-pubbed these days but the ones they recommend seem to come from the shallow end of the spectrum.

I noted even one of my current Netgalley books is published by Lulu. :o
Murder by Death 8 months ago
I really don't mean to have a go at all self-pub'd books, I know there are good ones; some of my favorite authors have self pub'd a few titles, and it's becoming more common to do so. But the vast majority of it is still junk and I'm not keen on wading through it to find a few gems. I'm especially loathe to do so because most of them tend to be digital only (which I can't read) and/or published exclusively with Amazon, and I'm not giving Amazon a dime I don't have to.
Digital only is a bad choice. A lot of people still read hard copy and it's not that hard to do a paperback version as well!
"So it goes." 8 months ago
Yep - I noticed this myself yesterday when trying, desperately, to find a book I'd heard about to recommend to a patient. Hah - I used to be able to stroll Amazon for a couple pages and find a book, but no more! I eventually made a phone call to someone else who made a phone call etc. I then purchased a copy of the book for myself b/c the patient was long gone, and I'd not been able to recommend anything but awaiting a text from me... The very worst part is that despite trying not to buy it from Amazon, even the publisher sent me back to Amazon! I couldn't find the book anywhere else. I tried several places, including used stores.

I also recently learned that my independent local bookstore is buying things from Amazon when I ask them to find a book for me. This completely defeats the purpose of me asking them to find a book for me!

Amazon's insistence on recommending books I've purchased FROM THEM in other formats has long bothered me, but lately even if I know the ISBN, they'd rather recommend some self-published similar title than the book I'm looking for. They refuse to let me find the edition of a book that I want (they seem to see no difference in various translations, editions, etc.) They can't even tell the difference between Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights! No amount of "click here to let us know something's wrong" links can ever save them. The sad part is that they're ruining the book industry not just their own company.
Murder by Death 8 months ago
I get so jacked when a publisher (or an author) sends me to Amazon to buy a book. What the hell is the point of contributing to your own destruction?? And your local independent ... I'd go off my head with them (calmly, quietly, but not kindly) - seriously, what's the point? How do you bemoan and gnash your teeth at the behemoth putting you out of business from one side of your mouth and order books from them out the other? That completely leaves me flummoxed.
BrokenTune 8 months ago
The edition issue is another one that just gets to me, but that's not just linked to Ammy. None of the other online book retailers seems to care about getting editions right. If I specifically want and go look for and order the edition that has the black cover and this is shown to me on the screen when I place the order, then I will return the book if it has the red cover. Simple as.
But Ammy and many others don't care...Ammy only has the right editions when this is the latest edition. Anything in their market place section is a gamble.

And the idea of a b&m bookseller or an independent or even a publisher sending me to Ammy or sourcing from Ammy is just ... UGH!!

Moonlight Reader 8 months ago
This is especially frustrating with classics and older books that are out of copyright! If I am buying a print classic, I want an edition by a well-regarded publisher - Norton, Penguin, Oxford, Virago, Vintage etc. I DO NOT want a POD edition. They look like shit, they feel like shit in my hands and they are invariably unproofed OCR downloads. And yet, somehow, if I search for a classic title, half the time the ones that come up are POD, and I have to specifically search for the publishers name to get the edition I want to come up, and even then it doesn't necessarily bring up the in stock version - it brings up used copies for which I have to pay shipping.

I don't love buying books from Amazon, but I am wedded to my kindle at this point. If publishers would make it easy to buy kindle editions directly from their website and get them onto my kindle, I would happily go that route. And if you know of any publishers who are making it easy, let's make a list and I will write up a post about it!
"So it goes." 8 months ago
Yeah. Publishers really ought to be selling their own books in this day and age. They are big companies, and even if they are one person, they can set up an online shop with very little work and sell their book(s). It's lazy to send people to Amazon and makes no sense at all. As for my local used store, I told them quite clearly how I already know how to purchase from Amazon and my reasons for NOT doing so. I do have 5 or 6 good independent bookstores very close to me (that sell only new books,) one of which is gigantic and always has a good selection of books in stock to browse and drool over. My biggest qualm is I am usually looking for something very specific, so I'm thrilled to browse the locals, but when I want a specific book, I don't like to be forced to Amazon, which happens more and more frequently.
"So it goes." 8 months ago
Ah - your comment wasn't here when I started posting mine (and stopped to make tea, pet the cat, etc.) Well, I know Random House sends you to stores to purchase (Amazon is at the top of their list) but I just got a Kindle version from another publisher - perhaps HarperCollins? I have to look. I'll be back. I will help set this up!
Murder by Death 8 months ago
A lot of the big publishers will sell direct - or at least quite a few of them, I don't have any solid numbers - but they don't sell the kindle format specifically, I don't think. It's the smaller publishers (like Henery Press) that just send you to Amazon without giving you a choice, which pisses me off.

I'm so glad I never bought a kindle; the few kindle editions I've ever bought I'd happily walk away from, which makes it a lot easier to stop feeding the beast.
@ BT and QR / MR: Yep -- the "classics editions" thing is another reason why Amazon searches are essentially useless. The only way to find anything on Amazon at all is if you know the ISBN (or ASIN) of that specific book *and* edition beforehand. I.e., if you already know what you want anyway.
"So it goes." 8 months ago
In the last three months, I've noticed a decline in finding classics there even when I know the ISBN. In fact, for a couple books, I actually had to go to goodreads, pick the edition I wanted, then click through to Amazon from GR to find the book - despite knowing and searching for the ISBN. That's new. I rarely buy the books from them if I can get them within $3-5 elsewhere, but I've stopped bothering. A bookstore that doesn't let me search by ISBN - even if it's free, I don't want it from them.
That's plain ridiculous ...
BrokenTune 8 months ago
Oh, the ISBN search on does not work. At least, in my experience. I have sent books back twice because I received the wrong (a newer) edition, even when specifically ordering by ISBN of the older edition.
*Ordering* by ISBN is yet another kettle of fish -- and yes, that's gone bad on me, too, with Marketplace sellers; but that's down to the sellers, or anyway those of them that don't pay attention to ISBN when listing the books they have on offer. (And maybe I haven't had Amazon themselves deliver a book with a different ISBN because I try not to order from them directly if I can help it to begin with.)

But more often than not, even *searching* by ISBN is the only way to find the edition of a classic you're looking for. And what exactly is a search algorithm worth, I wonder, if you can't find editions of even the most popular classics published by the likes of Penguin, Vintage and Oxford ... not even if you specifically add the name of the publisher (or the word classic(s)) to your search terms?!
BrokenTune 8 months ago
Nope. Does not guarantee that you end up with the right edition, because if Ammy doesn't have it but list an alernative vendor for that specific edition that Ammy shows me then I still expect that edition, and that seems to be a hit-or-miss because Ammy seems to combine editions (at least for some books).
Oh, and even specifying things in detail to some sellers has failed me in the past. Not all the time, but there are sellers who clearly haven't got the slightest of clues what they are doing - and I am not talking your one person seller, I do mean sellers who specialise in the book trade.
Oh, don't bring up Amazon's approach to combining -- that's yet another aspect of the mess (and has been for a long time). Not that I'm complaining about editions that are *not* combined ... at least they remain recognizable that way. But there is no rhyme and reason to what gets combined and what doesn't, either.

Amazon seems to believe that you can leave the entire job of curating a book database to computers. Well, you can't ... and their own DB is the best example of what happens if you do. And the fact that their business doesn't seem to suffer from any of the mess they've created tells you just *how* much of a hold on the market they have.
Murder by Death 8 months ago
I can't comment on the editions bit, but for at least the last year, whenever I've put a print editions ISBN into amazon's search field, I've been send directly to the Kindle edition instead. Every. time. I ripped into them about it when they sent me a 'customer satisfaction' survey, but of course they never responded, and nothing was changed. Indeed, it looks as though they've expanded their use of re-routing so they can truly control what the buyer gets. I really can't believe they've been allowed to continue on as they have without anti-trust actions. It's insane.
"So it goes." 8 months ago
I can state, unequivocally, that if they aren't "pushing" the latest/their edition, it will not appear first on a search result, and in fact, if Amazon itself doesn't sell it, it will be hard to find. Now that simply may be a crappy search algorithm, but as I said above, more than once (most recently a specific translation of Les Miserables) I've been unable to find the edition I'm looking for without rerouting directly through Goodreads, where I then find what I'm looking for. Again, this is new - w/in the last 3 months it's been happening, and perhaps it's just a hiccup on the US site? Dunno, but it's annoying and I've alerted them to it more than once, by phone and email.
BrokenTune 8 months ago
No, not a US site thing. I've had similar issues finding things from the UK site, and also had to resort to GR for a link.
Well, the design of the U.S. and UK sites has changed as well -- it usually does a bit before they introduce the same changes on the German site. As I said, so far, ISBN search is still working on the German site. (Rerouting through Goodreads, OTOH, has never worked for me.) I guess we'll have to see what happens once they introduce the new design on -- whether it'll be limited to that, or also include a change of the search algorithm that makes ISBN searches impossible.