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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Netflix has put a lot of thought into this. When I rate movies there, they try to match me with other customers with similar tastes, and use their ratings to predict how I will end up rating films I haven't seen yet. They will show you the average rating, but that is a secondary consideration. They also have some good tools for searching and sorting.

Other than the algorithm for doing the matching, there are a few elements unique to books (and maybe movies and games) that I think Amazon needs to implement:

Rating:
  • Simplified rating of books (maybe with emoticons instead of stars) without needing to write a review.
  • Allow rating of ALL books, not just those you have bought through Amazon.

Search preferences:
  • Genre
  • Length
  • Author age
  • Author gender

Sort by:
  • Book length.
  • Your expected rating.
  • Average rating.
  • Price/page

Amazon customers presently can only search for books in much the same way they search for a toaster. A low average rating of a toaster tells you people had problems making toast. But with books, a mediocre rating might mean half the readers loved it and half hated it. This is usually a reflection of taste, not a metric of quality on which all readers would agree.

What else could Amazon do to better match customers with books they will like?
 
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I guess you aren't yourself a regular Amazon customer.  :eek: ;D Amazon does a fairly good job of identifying my likes and dislikes based on my purchase history and activity. Amazon has one of the most robust algorithms in retail when it comes to recommending books. In fact, Amazon's amazing algorithm system is one of the key things we all talk about around here.

I would like to see better genre and category options. Some of their categories are simply weird or redundant. Apparently there is a fiction->biography category (think about that a second). There is a paranormal fantasy (which makes as much sense as having a scary horror category). It's almost like Amazon's categories were determined by people who have never read a book.  :eek:

Amazon already allows you to rate any book. The only requirement is that you have to have purchased something in the past. You can buy steak knives for all they care. But there is no restriction on reviewing.

I'm not sure why the author's AGE would even remotely be a factor. I've never known anyone who went out of their way to find authors who were a specific age. Gender also makes no sense and would be pointless considering the number of authors who don't reveal their gender or write under pen names.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Monique said:
You can always use the Betterizer to make your recommendations more personal. http://www.amazon.com/gp/betterizer
I've been shopping on Amazon for 15 years and have never found their book recommendations to be useful. I think this is in part because I buy most books elsewhere and have not written reviews of them on Amazon.

I have searched Amazon for better selection tools but never found the betterizer. I briefly found a way to rate books without writing reviews, but have never been able to locate that page again - it only allowed rating of books I bought at Amazon.

While you can argue that this is my fault for not being more systematic, it shouldn't be something a customer has to work at. If you use Netflix, it is quite easy and seamless. My daughter wants to have a separate Netflix account just so she can use their rating algorithms to find movies. I think Amazon is way behind the curve on this.

I also agree that their genre system could be improved. Using a combination of genres in a search would be helpful since many works cross over. (Why does science fiction have two "military" categories?)

I think age and gender can matter, which may be why some authors don't want to reveal these characteristics.

I think both authors and readers would be greatly helped by a separate taste-based rating system for books.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
MaryMcDonald said:
Integrate their book search engine with www.bookmatchers.com? ;D
I like that site - thanks. It is, however, painfully slow. It's an exclusive rather than inclusive search engine, by which I mean that it allows you to narrowly select books based on specific characteristics. This is helpful when you want "more like this."

An ideal matching based on taste would also show me books I wouldn't otherwise expect to like. Take Lolita for example. I would never in a million years pick up a book about a child molester, yet it is one of my favorite books because of elements that have nothing to do with the plot.
 

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The only one of your criteria that would be at all useful to me is genre, and Amazon already includes that. But it's very rare that I buy books that I haven't seen reviewed or recommended elsewhere. Amazon's suggestions are only marginally useful and I doubt they could be made any more useful. One criteria they could happily eliminate altogether is what other people have looked at that's supposedly similiar to something I looked at. That has to be the most irrelevant criteria ever dreamed up.
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Apparently there is a fiction->biography category (think about that a second). There is a paranormal fantasy (which makes as much sense as having a scary horror category).
I really want to write the David Adams's autobiography and put it in this category. I'll focus on the war years, including when I became a giant pink butterfly and conquered the moon.
 
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David Adams said:
I'll focus on the war years, including when I became a giant pink butterfly and conquered the moon.
I think I remember reading about that on Wikipedia...or was it the Onion? ;D
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I think I remember reading about that on Wikipedia...or was it the Onion? ;D
If the Onion ever wrote anything about me I'd be a happy man indeed.
 
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