UPDATE: Amazon's online tracking put the book I ordered in Cologne, Germany less than a day after I ordered it online. The challenge will be whether UPS can punt the box out of Germany during the night. It did--and the book arrived ahead of the Amazon timeline.
AMAZON -- With severe winter weather cramping the transportation system on the American eastern seaboard, I figured it was time to check Amazon in the snow. So I ordered a book I really fast (Downcast Eyes: The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought) and paid twice its cover price in shipping because the online sales mechanism said the book would arrive by Thursday. I want Amazon (and UPS) to pass the snow test.
At the point of ordering the book, Amazon told me what other titles I should also buy. The Amazon recommendation were absurdly correct--they were the titles on the supplemental reading list for the visual arts lecture that mandated the first title. Bezos told Chris Anderson how that happens:
We not only help readers find books, we also help books find readers, with personalized recommendations based on the patterns we see. I remember one of the first times this struck me. The main book on the pages was on zen . There were other suggestions for Zen books, and in the middle of those was a book on how to have a clutter-free desk. That's not something that a human editor would have ever picked. But statistically, the people who were interested in the Zen books also wanted clutter-free desks. The computer is blind to the fact that these things are dissimilar in some way that's important to humans. It looks right through that and says yes, try this. And it works.
I like Amazon because Jeff Bezos makes it easy to send me presents. Just click into my Amazon Wishlist and flex your credit card--online giving made into a one-click experience. Amazon made it one-click easy to donate to Tsunami relief. Amazon gave me $1 off my latest purchase just prior to ordering because I use A9 when searching.
There's oh-so-much that you can do with the Amazon API but the coding will have to wait for the summer in my case. I want to generate a link on my side gutter that shows my last played iTunes track complete with a link to the CD on Amazon. I like the range of music I see on blogs as much as I enjoy the imagery. It's even better if you're paid a little bob for a sales commission from a reader who likes your taste. Plus it's unobstrusive.
Amazon is just such a nice little part of the internet ecosystem. It has spawned an Amazon.com Flickr group (no photos, just Amazonians or ex-Amazonians.). I really like what Jeff Bezos has done with the concept of online shopping and hope other merchants aspire to offer up an Amazon experience for users.
Chris Anderson -- "The Zen of Jeff Bezos" in a Wired interview conducted at Manhattan's 92nd Street Y in November 2004.
Barbara Hemphill -- "Use it or lose it: Living clutter-free forever" ISBN 1884798276
Bonus Link: Most wished-for items on Amazon.
tag: Amazon x_ref26121