I really like Amazon. I really like Amazon’s recommendations and ever since I inputed most of my books into Amazon I get really good recommendations.
There is one thing that bothers me, though.
I recently made a big order from Amazon and included two books which I was long overdue in owning and reading them. The books were “Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul” and “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” both by Douglas Adams.
After the purchase, Amazon recommendation started to offer me other Dougls Adams books such as “Mostly Harmless“, “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish” and “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe“.
I previously told Amazon that I already own “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which is one large book containing all 5 of the hitchhiker’s guide novels (3 of them are the books mentioned above).
Since I own a book that include those books I would have figuring that Amazon will know that and handle that similar to how they handle situations in which a book is reprinted or has some newer edition (usually with minor changes or no changes at all). The recommendation engine doesn’t handle that because it probably doesn’t take into account that this one book is a collection of other books and in addition to that.
Due to the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy movie they have re-printed the series so there are newer edition out there, which is probably one of the causes I see these books again.
It’s not that uncommon to have such a book that contains multiple previous titles that were a part of a series before. For example I also own “The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles” which is one big book that contains the 10 books in the Amber series by Roger Zelazny (luckily I haven’t told Amazon about that so I’m not getting recommendations to buy the same books again).
Perhaps Amazon should take a look into such collection books as well as handling re-prints and newer edition in a different way.
For example, for reading books (not technical books that often have newer editions that do change and add things) I would expect by default to not see any new re-prints and things like that unless I specifically opted that in my settings.
For technical/reference books I would like, by default, to see newer editions because these new editions (usually) add and update information and in most cases its important to stay up-to-date or at least know that there is a newer edition.
For paperback vs. hard cover editions, Amazon seems to handle it well and does understand that if I have the paperback edition I don’t need to be recommended of the hard cover edition and vice versa. I can only assume they implemented it by saving some kind of a reference between these books, so perhaps they should add a new type of reference/link for books that are a collection of other books and other such links to handle the rest of the things I’ve mentioned above.
What do you say? Am I the only book maniac/Amazon maniac/Recommendation maniac out there that thinks about this? :-)