Friday, September 19, 2008

Browsing Fail at Amazon

I wasted over an hour last night and another hour tonight trying to find another MMPB to add to my Amazon cart for the 4-for-3 paperback sale. I ended up with five books in the end, four massmarket paperbacks and one trade paperback that I absolutely had to have, and hopefully I'll get my order by next week, but I've got some suggestions for Amazon's browsing function. Listen up, raging-corporate-behemoth!

1. Let me exclude factors from a search, like "Arthurian" and "Celtic," which are two types of fantasy books that make my brain shut down in defense of boredom at the mere mention.

2. List books that are based on movies, TV shows, comics, or games of any kind in a completely separate category*, with no overlap into other fiction categories. That way I won't have to skim over nine-tenths of the F&SF category trying to find something I want to read.

3. Let me exclude all books with covers that feature a photograph instead of art. Fantasy novels should have artwork on the cover, dammit.

That's a start. Incidentally, every single one of the books I ordered tonight were ones I saw reviewed online somewhere, which is a tactic I turned to when I couldn't wade through all the Dragonlance novels that kept popping up on my Amazon searches without my brain exploding. My ultimate choices: The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar, Tinker by Wen Spencer, Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight (the trade paperback my brain insisted I buy), Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin, and a Dorothy Sayers mystery I can't seem to find in any of the local used book stores I frequent (Thrones, Dominations, started by Sayers before her death and finished recently by some other author I can't remember; it's supposed to be good). I'll let you know how they turn out.

*I nominate "derivative," but you could also use "retread" or just "boring."


Cate Gardner said...

I tend to go into Amazon with a list of what I want (through recommendations online), though I do sometimes follow the 'other customers bought this' links. I much prefer going into a book shop - I just wish the ones in Liverpool actually stocked a diverse selection. For a major British city our 2 bookstores stink.

K.C. Shaw said...

The online reviews/recommendations from people with similar tastes/other customers bought is the way to go, I think. Even in a book store I find myself just scanning the titles or covers and thinking, "These books are all identical! And by the same six authors!"

Lisa Shearin said...

Hi Kate,

Thank you for including Magic Lost, Trouble Found in your 4-for-3book sale spree! ; ) When you've finished reading it, drop me an email and let me know how you liked it. ( BTW -- The cover art for the third book in the series is on my Thursday blog post, if you're interested in a preview.

Take care,

K.C. Shaw said...

I'll read yours first, then! :) I'm glad you've got sequels--the book sounds like fun.

Carrie Harris said...

Y'know, I've been debating reading Thrones, Dominations, but I have this thing about reading books that were finished on behalf of the original author. I'm prejudiced or something. You'll have to let us know what you think. After Lisa's book, of course. :)

I love me some Peter Wimsey.

K.C. Shaw said...

I do too, and I've been putting off reading Thrones, Dominations for the same reason. But not too long ago I read a review somewhere and it said the new author's work fit seamlessly with Sayers' beginning, and I think she used Sayers' notes too. I'll definitely post about it! I hope it's good.