Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Things that don't belong anywhere else. (Check first).

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Postby Jorpho » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:41 pm UTC

I was thinking recently of a rather awful techno-thriller I read many years ago by the thoroughly generic name of "The Programmer". A Google search for <"the programmer" book thriller> conveniently turns it up at http://www.amazon.com/The-Programmer-Br ... 0345290798 . (For some equally baffling reason, <"the programmer" thriller book> doesn't work nearly as well.)

What puzzles me is the difficulty in retrieving this search result from within Amazon.com itself. A search for "The Programmer" just turns up lots and lots of programming books, and even an advanced search for with "The Programmer" in the title doesn't do the trick. It finally comes up in an advanced search if the subject is limited to "Literature & Fiction", and even then it's only the third result after "The Faceless Programmer".

I am left to wonder if there is some secret to Amazon searching that has evaded me thus far.

User avatar
Adacore
Posts: 2755
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:35 pm UTC
Location: 한국 창원

Re: Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Postby Adacore » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:35 pm UTC

Maybe Amazon puts a significant weighting on its sales rank metrics, rather than on how close a match your search keywords are to the book title? Possibly it also doesn't accept quotation marks to delimit phrases in search, and/or excludes the word 'the' from searches as being a common word? I find limiting by category/subject on Amazon is often very important when searching, if you want half-decent results.

User avatar
Eseell
Posts: 789
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:58 am UTC
Location: WA

Re: Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Postby Eseell » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:39 pm UTC

I searched for "programmer" in the titles of "Mystery, Thriller & Suspense" books and it was one of only four results. Unfortunately it's one of those words that is incredibly common in a number of different subjects, so unless you're looking for a super generic book on programming I expect it's not a useful search term on Amazon.
"Math is hard work and it occupies your mind -- and it doesn't hurt to learn all you can of it, no matter what rank you are; everything of any importance is founded on mathematics." - Robert A. Heinlein

User avatar
TheAmazingRando
Posts: 2308
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:58 am UTC
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Postby TheAmazingRando » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:24 pm UTC

It kind of makes sense. If you type "learn programming" into Amazon search you probably don't want the top result to be some obscure book called "Learn Programming," you want a list of popular and well-regarded books on learning programming*. I'm guessing Amazon prioritizes for keywords before titles.

*This is probably not the best example since the top results for "learn programming" don't really look like very good resources.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Refining an Amazon Search / Amazon Search Weirdness

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:09 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:It kind of makes sense. If you type "learn programming" into Amazon search you probably don't want the top result to be some obscure book called "Learn Programming," you want a list of popular and well-regarded books on learning programming*. I'm guessing Amazon prioritizes for keywords before titles.
Well, that's the weird thing – unlike any other library catalog I've seen, there seems to be no way to prioritize titles, even in Advanced Search.


Return to “General”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests