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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

Filtering out self-published books

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Showing 1-25 of 416 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2011 7:46:29 AM PDT
Apologies to Greg for starting a new thread for his topic, but the point of his original post has become lost and it is one that I agree with and think is important for the future of the Kindle and ereaders in general.

I would be very grateful to Amazon if they were to provide more options for filtering books while shopping. In particular I would like the ability to screen self-published books. There are times when all I want to consider are books published by traditional publishers (not just the big six, but maybe the big 50?).

I am glad that Amazon has provided the opportunity for so many new authors to make their work available to the world. I may even take advantage of it my self at some time. But the volume of material has become and will only become more, unwieldy. I don't hate self-published authors. I don't wish them anything but joy and many sales, but I don't always want to have to consider them when I am looking for something new to read.

I hope this brings the conversation back to a helpful place.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 11:31:45 AM PDT
I think (although I can't speak for) Amazon would be hesitant to do that, because if potential indie authors know that their work can be filtered out so easily, they may be a lot less willing to self-publish with Amazon.

Amazon wants to SELL books. And the more books they have available TO sell, the more the likelihood someone will BUY them. I (personally) don't see them adding that filter.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:35:47 AM PDT
Where else would they publish? It's not like there is a viable alternative marketplace for them.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 11:39:00 AM PDT
Just Peachy says:
Should it be like filtering by brand is on other websites? For example if you are looking for a computer and go to that website for the big box electronic store, you choose computer and one of the filter options is brand.

Would that work?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:40:17 AM PDT
Mackattack says:
Oh but there is other markets. Nook. iBooks are just a couple.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:42:15 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2011 11:42:33 AM PDT
Do either of these markets allow self-publishing/customer uploads? I know that Smashwords does, but I don't think they are serious competitors.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:46:22 AM PDT
That's what I'm saying. They SHOULD be allowed to publish, and I don't think a "Don't Show Me Any Indie Authors" Filter would be fair to them.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:50:12 AM PDT
What about fairness to the reader who doesn't want to have to sift through dozens of unedited pieces of amateur fiction to find something that has been professionally published? Especially if the reader doesn't intend to buy such a work. Doesn't it make more sense to provide a filter so that the customer can customize their recommendations to books that they will enjoy?

My newest idea: browse @ B&N.com; buy @ http://amazon.com.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:50:17 AM PDT
Steve Thomas says:
@Christine Boatman

If Amazon were to cease to be a friendly market for the smaller publishers, Smashwords would start being a much more serious competitor - which is why Amazon isn't about to do that.

Besides, "self-published" is pretty arbitrary. If Stephen King or Tom Clancey were to the big 6 publishing house they currently work with, wouldn't they suddenly be considered "self-published"?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 11:51:37 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 20, 2011 11:52:45 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 12:14:53 PM PDT
A. Customer says:
In the absence of Amazon creating these filters, we just have to be self sufficient. Pick a publisher, look on their website, see who/what they have recently released, buy it on Amazon. If it's not available as an e-book, lobby the publisher.
Has anyone considered that this thread, and the other vitriol war that spawned it, are just the result of a few people paddying because Amazon is not as convenient for them as they would like it to be?
I imagine it is just as frustrating for those who self publish, they have to face the fact that their 'masterpiece' will be lost in the barrage of dross too.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 12:30:57 PM PDT
pjf says:
And what was Amazon's reponse when you wrote to them and requested this?

You could always simply change your sort options in any search result to "popularity". The majority of your search results will then be trade publishers. Indies without a track record of sales will be far behind them, and those few indies that do make it to the top have a proven sales record. That seems a workable solution to your problem unless and until Amazon accedes to your request.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 12:32:17 PM PDT
That's weird. I thought this was a business designed to please customers, not a way to make sure the scales of justice were tipped in the way most pleasing to indie authors.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 1:19:21 PM PDT
I am not sure what is "fair," and while fairness is good, I'm also not sure that is the point. I would like to think that the object of the Kindle and the Kindle store, and other purveyors of e-books, is to maximize the reading experience - thereby selling lots of books and book readers and making lots of happy customers and, tangentially, happy writers.

I agree that filtering by popularity does do this to a certain extent. I'm not stamping my foot and saying that I am going to go away if I don't get my way. But it is also true that I have spent hours trolling through listings that I didn't find particularly appealing, wishing that I had a more effective way of finding what I was really looking for. Often (but not always) being able to reduce the number of self-published books would be helpful in that.

Conversely, if I were in the mood to find that new author whose work is outside the mainstream, it would be equally helpful to be able to filter FOR that as well.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 1:47:54 PM PDT
Steve Thomas says:
The majority of the e-books sold at Amazon are published by small publishers, not by the big 6. Amazon pleases customers by encouraging small publishers to bring new titles to Amazon, rather than by tilting the playing field in favor of the Big 6 publishers.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 1:50:13 PM PDT
I'm just saying that's WHY Amazon probably won't do it. I'm not an indie author PAC.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 1:51:36 PM PDT
And that, Harl, is one of the things I like the best about Amazon.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 2:15:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2011 2:24:52 PM PDT
I suppose whatever floats your boat.

I bought a kindle in June and I have read almost exclusively works published independently, some by authors others by small publishing houses. None of them would get through the filter proposed here but every single one of them is as good as anything I've read in the past 10 years that would. It may be different your side of the pond but here in the UK, the big houses can only afford to go for a middle of the road, sure bet. A lot of stuff that would have been published a few years ago, is too big a risk now. We get loads of celebrity pap lots of thrillers and the odd really different and interesting book - usually written by someone established.

So, I'm wondering how do you buy books? Do you go to a book store and have a rummage? Do you go on the recommendation of friends? I tend to go for recommendation or have a good browse. Online browsing is harder but I find I can usually tell, if I download a sample, whether I'm going to like the rest. Do you think some kind of search inside on screen without having to download would help?

You see, I find that the fact a book is published by a big publishing house is not necessarily an arbiter of quality. I guess it comes down to how easily we readers are able to identify the kind of book we'll like. I find it very straightforward but it's clear that a lot of people don't.

Well there you go. Just a few thoughts.



In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 2:28:00 PM PDT
Really? Customers are going to bolt because they can't get Staked (Time Brokers: Book One), Bored in the Breakroom, Diary of a Vampeen, or Quid Pro Quo?

The idea that Amazon should please customers is accurate. The idea that they have a duty to be "fair" to indie publishers is silly. If enough customers want the ability to filter indie books out of their searches, Amazon should offer it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 2:29:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 20, 2011 2:31:05 PM PDT
Don't forget Epic: The Novel, and Dragons Versus Dinosaurs (Xtoriez). Also Jersey Daze. Fine specimens, these.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 2:30:13 PM PDT
>>My newest idea: browse @ B&N.com; buy @ amazon.com.<<

I've actually done that two times in the past; ONLY because of the too many self-published books issue. When I found the books I liked, I then went back to Amazon and look up the titles.

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 2:41:21 PM PDT
pjf says:
Edward, I did some sample test searches, using the popularity filter, and while there were a few indie works coming out on top, the majority were trade pub books. I am not really seeing the same results you are getting, perhaps because I am not trying the same sort of searches. Maybe you need to send some concrete examples to Amazon as to how the present search methods are causing significant problems for you and other customers.

I'm sure Amazon wants customers to find the books they want to buy quickly. And the change you want may add to that speed. But to get them to make that change it might help to display the hardship where existing filters such as popularity are significantly falling short and slowing browsers down by hours.

I could also see they might be amenable to adding "brand" akin to a publisher's name. That would add an additional issue with having to search each publisher singularly. To discriminate against a group of imprints/vendors, by having a generic "turn off any but these imprints" button, would I think cause a real issue with any vendor not in that group.

Maybe what you want is to have each user account have an optional screen for default search parameters they can set up if they wish, where the user clicks only the publishers they want to see in any search. The list of publishers would get pretty long with all the small imprints coming up but if you are really only interested in a handful of publishers you'd only have to set it up once (and make sure you are logged into your account when you browse). It's not difficult to code, and I don't imagine it would slow down searches that much, (though it would some). But it would cost. Businesses being practical, there would need to be some evidence to justify it, evidence that that shows the present options have serious issues.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 2:43:19 PM PDT
Jersey Daze is not currently available! That's it, Amazon. I am out of here!

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 2:49:01 PM PDT
TuxGirl says:
you *can* filter on average review (although only after clicking far enough into the browse tree). That's a pretty good way to weed out the bad indie books while still allowing yourself to see the great ones. I've had experiences at both ends of the indie continuum.

another option would be to search by publisher. That would show you all books by that publisher, but you can browse after that...

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 20, 2011 2:50:09 PM PDT
I sampled it when I got into it with the author on another thread. Oh. My. God.

To call it bad writing insults people whose writing is merely bad. Horrifying. A horror book that isn't intended to be horror.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
Participants:  96
Total posts:  416
Initial post:  Oct 20, 2011
Latest post:  26 days ago

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