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Amazon is Better

December 14, 2011 17:22:21.000

Farhad Manjoo has pretty much summarized how I feel about Amazon, when compared to physical bookstores:

Compared with online retailers, bookstores present a frustrating consumer experience. A physical store—whether it’s your favorite indie or the humongous Barnes & Noble at the mall—offers a relatively paltry selection, no customer reviews, no reliable way to find what you’re looking for, and a dubious recommendations engine. Amazon suggests books based on others you’ve read; your local store recommends what the employees like. If you don’t choose your movies based on what the guy at the box office recommends, why would you choose your books that way?

Consider the kind of history books I look for - I tend to get interested in a period, and then I want other books on that period. At the local bookstore, I'll be lucky if I can find even a single book on the topic at hand, and no one there is likely to know anything about it. At Amazon? I have a nearly endless selection, and the recommendation engine pushes things that I'm highly likely to be interested in.

So sorry, I can brew my own coffee, and the chairs in my house are pretty nice, thanks :)

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Amazon is Better

[W^L+] December 15, 2011 21:13:08.396

That's odd. I use Amazon regularly, but I'd never say I enjoyed it.

In particular, their recommendations tend to be way off. Usually, the only time they get something interesting is when they offer books I've already purchased.

Re: Amazon is Better

[James Robertson] December 16, 2011 1:25:29.652

I find the "Readers who bought X also bought Y" thing really useful. That's what I meant by recommendations.

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