I really hate it when useless screechers who haven’t made anything of value dump on people who provide an invaluable service. Look at this idiot who can’t write a normal sentence, yet thinks it’s OK to condescend to Amazon:
Ironically, Amazon itself realizes that its recommendation algorithms – formulaically predictive! – aren’t actually up to the task of promoting a vital reading/listening culture. Its solution was to attempt to cannibalize the serendipity offered by traditional retailers by offering people discounts to browse in shops and then scan in barcodes to buy the items online. It’s almost like their vision is to destroy book culture to make a buck off it – or, charitably, that they don’t realize that many of the costs and inefficiencies they’re stripping out are necessary parts of the system.
If one truly wishes to participate in Amazon’s vibrant reading culture, one could skip the recommendation carousel and go to the reviews written by actual readers. As one of the top reviewers at Amazon, I can guarantee that my reviews are neither formulaic nor predictive. They are the same reviews that you read here on my blog, so you tell me. Formulaic or not? And as you travel from one review to another, you can have all the serendipity that you can possibly wish for. The personal reviews that Amazon has been accumulating by the thousand are the greatest asset of this company (which is why it rewards its best reviewers with expensive gifts even if every review one writes is completely negative.) I hardly make any book purchase any more without consulting Amazon’s reviews.
For people like me, who live in the boondocks and whose neighborhood only has a bookstore that peddles endless Bibles and very little else, Amazon is incredibly helpful. I use it all the time and my Homepage even used to be Amazon’s page because I visited it so often. Thanks to Amazon, people read a lot more and discover new books a lot more easily. If it weren’t for Amazon, I’d be excluded from the book culture because I don’t have a way to take myself to St. Louis every time I want a new book.
As for the serendipity of regular bookstores, the only one I have in town is beyond predictable. Bibles, fancy leather bags to hold the Bibles, accessories for the Bibles, then more Bibles, and books in Spanish peddling the weirdest branches of American fundamentalism to Hispanics. Of course, there is also a Harlequin section and the “cheesy bestseller of the month” section. Yes, this kind of a store must definitely promote the book culture.