A New Search Snafu

March 2004
by Lynn McGlothlin

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We’ve read the PMA Newsletter articles on Amazon’s new Search Inside the Book program with interest. In general, we have been quite satisfied with our Amazon connections. They pay promptly (now, there’s a concept!), your inventory and sales are always available online to review, and the outlet has added moderate sales for each of our books.

However, the Search Inside the Book program has one snag in terms of its potential effect on the books of independent publishers that we have not seen mentioned in the various discussions: the technology’s ability to draw out single words from deep within a book that really has no relevance to the search. This often means that books which include the search word only once or twice are listed ahead of a book that actually focuses on the topic the searcher is interested in. Search Inside the Book is therefore not an efficient tool for zeroing in on books about a particular subject.

Here’s an example: North Country Publishing has published the third edition of a classic firsthand account of life and lumbering in the white pine woods of the north, Lumberjack: Inside an Era. In the past, when the search word lumberjack was entered, our title came up somewhere near the top of the list, and always on the first page. Now, a number of books on widely varying topics that use the word lumberjack once or twice–but that may be better sellers–come up first, and our book is rel…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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