|The 2018 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts At Midnight|
A few months ago, I posted a discussion about the accuracy of the book recommendations that Goodreads offers its users. A few commenters suggested that I look at Amazon’s book recommendations and see how they compare. That’s what we’re doing today.
I don’t use Amazon very often because I’m not the biggest fan of their business practices. I’d rather support used bookstores. I only order from Amazon when I have a gift card, which is maybe once or twice a year. I’ve never looked at the personalized book recommendations before.
From what I can tell, the books that Amazon recommends are books in genres that you’ve purchased in the past. My last few book purchases have been fantasy, historical, and contemporary, so that’s what it showed me.
I found these recommendations by logging into my account, then clicking “Your name here’s” Amazon > Teen & Young Adult. I chose to look at the teen and YA recommendations because that’s what I did in the Goodreads post.
Here are the first 10 YA books that Amazon recommended to me:
Well, this is awkward. I’ve already read most of these. Amazon doesn’t know it because I didn’t buy them from Amazon. I’ve read Eleanor & Park, This Savage Song, The Hate U Give, Turtles All The Way Down, Gemina, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Leah on the Offbeat and Our Dark Duet are on my to-read list, so nice job, Amazon. I am interested in reading those books.
That leaves The Wicked Deep and Stalking Jack the Ripper. I’ve seen those books around the blogosphere. They both got some hype when they came out, but they weren’t really on my radar. Now that I’ve checked out the Amazon reviews, I’m interested in them. They both appear to have a high enough body count to hold my attention. Amazon somehow knows that I like murder in my stories. (I don’t want to know how Amazon knows that, but it seems to know.)
I guess that means that Amazon’s first 10 recommendations are 100% accurate? I’ve read 6 of the 10 and want to read the other 4. However, I’m still disappointed with the recommendations. All of these books are extremely popular and have spent weeks on various bestseller lists. I would have been far more impressed if Amazon had accurately recommended little-known books. Everyone wants to find a hidden gem, right? I feel like Amazon is just showing me what everybody else in the world is reading.
It’s slightly weird that Amazon showed me both books in the Monsters of Verity duology. I don’t think the recommendation robot should recommend book #2 unless it knows that I liked book #1. Maybe the algorithm doesn’t know how to handle a series? Or maybe normal people buy an entire series at the same time? I don’t. I’ll only buy a second book if I liked the first one. It’s also odd that Amazon recommended Gemina, which is #2 in a series. Why didn’t it recommend the first book? Maybe it’s a devious little robot. It’s trying to get me interested in a whole series so that I buy more books.
So, how do Amazon’s recommendations compare to Goodreads’s? In my experience, Amazon is more accurate, but Goodreads does a better job of recommending books that I haven’t heard about before.
Have you ever looked at your Amazon recommendations? Are they accurate?
Are The Wicked Deep and Stalking Jack the Ripper worth reading?