Do you ever find the ebook recommendations on Kindle ereaders and Amazon’s website useful?
I used to check the Kindle ebooks section of Amazon’s website regularly, but now it’s just row after row of useless recommendations that I could care less about. It’s the same story on the homepage of Kindle ereaders.
It seems like Amazon’s main source of recommendations is just to show books by authors of titles you’ve previously purchased or borrowed. That’s fine until you buy a book from an author you end up not liking, and then you’ll be stuck getting recommendations for other books they’ve published for next five years whether you want to see them or not.
Another thing I find annoying is how they recommend books that I would never buy in a million years. Right now on the Kindle ebook page Amazon has a section for “New & Noteworthy Spanish Language Kindle Books”. I don’t even speak Spanish and I’ve never purchased or borrowed a Spanish language book so why is Amazon even bothering trying to recommend them?
It would be a lot more useful if there were some user-adjustable parameters for recommended ebooks. Being able to remove authors and genres you have no interest in would be a nice start. And I don’t need to see every book my favorite authors have published—I already know they exist.
What really annoys me about Amazon’s recommendations is the fact that they almost never show ebooks that are on sale. You’d think discounted books would get highlighted, especially from authors that you read, but that never seems to be the case.
I miss the ability to disable the homescreen and its useless recommendations on the old Kindle user interface. Now the homescreen is mandatory on all Kindles released after the Kindle Voyage from 2014. The recommendations are so bad I never even look at the homescreen anymore. What’s the point?
Frequently Amazon recommends books that not only do I already own, they are downloaded on the Kindle showing the recommendation.
Your right about discounted books. I purchase a lot of eBooks but they are purchased when they are on sale. Amazon never recommends books on sale.
It would be great if there were user-adjustable parameters.
I so miss the old UI on the newer Kindles.
Yeap, they do a utterly poor job at recommendations!
– books I already bought, marketed as 1$ – who cares!
– romantic books, really? Did I ever scroll on that space, like ever? For me spaceships! Can’t you figure that piece out from my purchase history?
Possibly one can calculate how much CPU AWS uses for those poorly targeted ads and emails recommending books!
But don’t give them ideas! I did write an email few years back, complaining about the poor recommendations.
They “reward” me by removing ads from all the Kindles under my account – the entire family has not a single ad on homescreen.
(that’s another dump policy – you can’t buy ad free Kindle without an US card)
Jay Vansickle says
I get my book recs from BookBub.
I stay in Library view on my Kindle.
I find the algorithms amusing. They are probably 90% wrong for me although others have told me it seems to works for them.
Yes, I would like a way to indicate genres I like or dislike for both Kindle and Prime Video (no horror films for me).
Like you I have tried a new-to-me author who didn’t work out and still get recommendations. Oh well.
You would dislike the B&N NOOK recommendation engine too, Nathan. B&N does a thing where they offer Free Friday ebooks or audiobooks. I’m generally not interested at all with what they offer, but some do come up where I’ll “purchase” the free offering because I’m of the mindset that I may be interested in the future. Yep, NOOK decides to use those as key recommendations for categories and authors of books I’d like, not looking at ebook purchases I’ve made using actual, real money instead. Blows my mind and makes me wonder if anyone on the Kindle or NOOK product teams actually use their devices to see this behavior.
I think they would hve to spy on you to get the level of recommendation you want.
Steve H. says
Kindle recommendations used to be excellent for finding similar books. Several years ago-maybe 6 or 7 they rapidly downgraded in functionality. There used to be a column underneath the book description that showed “explore, similar books” that showed relevant titles. Now, especially in fiction, these recommendations push Kindle Unlimited titles.
It’s all about the Benjamins. Amazon has shifted away from a true recommendations model and straight into a pay to play model. Indie authors have to pay advertising fees if they want any hope of showing up in Amazon recommendations or what was previously the “Those who bought this also like…”. It’s almost all promotion now.
There’s been so much discussion about how we are the product, but the entire industry, not just Amazon, is a sham. They run ads for whatever they receive, and frankly, I don’t believe they even try to fit them to the “tailored” data that they cull from us. My Amazon page does better recommending books than yours seems to have done. At least they’re all in the current genre that I’ve been purchasing, but there’s also a cat wearing a Kirby hat. I don’t own a cat. I’ve never bought anything for a cat. Yet my “For You” section is filled with cat products. It’s all a bit disheartening since it’s so stupid. They’re supposed to be trying to make money, right? LOL
One annoying one I seem to get a lot is as soon as I have read a book in KU and returned it, Amazon then try and get me to buy it. Even if I want to get it later, I’m definitely not interested that quickly, then again they are just as quick with wanting you to review things within minutes of them being delivered which is equally stupid too.
It’s really unnerving that they think languages are genres. Since when is “Books in Portuguese” a good recommendation? I can read in Portuguese, but I won’t consider reading any title just because it’s available in a language I know.
Totally agree, you’d think they’d be really good at recommending books, which would make them more money and help improve their algorithms further!
Just gonna be that guy and point out a typo in your post: It’s “couldn’t care less” – not “I could care less”
Shehraj Singh says
I wish they would let us customize our recommendations based on genres, authors, and even sale prices. One tip I’ve found useful is looking up book recommendations from book bloggers or Goodreads.