Amazon Becomess Less Useful as a Bookseller

Dana Blankenhorn notes that the basic Amazon search box [is] nearly useless when searching for an author. I’ve had that experience as well. I think that somewhere along the way Amazon became a merchandiser rather than a book seller. And that everything became a SKU rather than a title.

Amazon seems to have forgotten that the difference between the hardback, paperback, and audio versions of a book is much less significant than the difference between different books. When I search for an author, I’m primarily interested in the titles not the formats. I want the results ordered by the date in which they were written, not published. If it’s part of a series, then I may want the titles ordered by their position in the series.

And Amazon’s preoccupation with merchandise is a window of opportunity for competitors. Series have become a dominant form in bookselling, but Amazon uses Listmania to fill that role. Reviews play a major role in promoting book sales, but Amazon reviews are too easily gamed. It’s not going to be easy, but I think you can get inside Amazon’s decision cycle and compete for the book buyers dollar.

20 Nov: In the comments, Dana points to the url for book-only searches. That handles the multiple format question, but doesn’t address my series issue.