Refinements

The last time I went book shopping I didn’t actually buy anything. Instead I took pictures of the things I wanted then went back home and got online: Wikipedia to Amazon to iTunes and back around comparison shopping and information gathering until I found the best deal and best format for the book I wanted (David Sedaris’ “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.”)

While bouncing between these sites I came across a few refinements that I (as a loyal customer) want to see.

And the first thing is this – why doesn’t Amazon have a library function built into it?

Amazon should be able to let users make easily accessible library files that are searchable by Amazon’s robots to let readers know which books they’re missing or when new books come out. In other words, I don’t want to wade through the stacks and piles of books to see if I still have a copy of another Sedaris book while I’m online. I want to know, right then, if I have a copy or if I should take advantage of Amazon’s “buy together” deals. Amazon bought Shelfari a while ago, so I’m hoping that maybe they’ll add some more social functionality to their sites sometime soon.

Addtionally, Amazon should be able to host bookclubs and discussion groups fairly easily, shouldn’t they? Somewhere where users / readers can get together to discuss the books they’ve bought in something a little more organized that the current reviews system?

I’m also hoping they make something like the iTunes Genius sidebar, but for Amazon for better recommendations of new books.

Then again, speaking of iTunes, why is there no wishlist? One of the best parts of the Amazon shopping experience is being able to bookmark books one is interested in into either a shopping list or a wishlist. I’m getting frustrated by going into the iTunes store, finding something that I want to buy in the future and having to save the name in a file completely separate from my iTunes account. And how about gifts? It would be very nice to have the gift lists that Amazon has.

Basically, I want Amazon’s shopping functionality in iTunes and iTunes library management in Amazon and better social integreation
and user interaction in both.

And then there’s Wikipedia. I’m a bit of a completist, a bit of a collector. It’s pretty common for me to surf to Wikipedia to get a full bibliography on whichever author I’m interested in at the moment. But because of Wikipedia’s lack of built in bookmarking, I find that I end up searching for the same information over and over, or cluttering up my browswer bookmarks with Wikipedia links.

I want a tag cloud so I can bookmark my favorite articles and references within Wikipedia. I want to be able to build my own wiki of most referenced articles, and I want a way to pull that information into shopping sites / applications.

All of this may seem a little demanding, and it is. After all, I’m just a customer, with no knowledge of how difficult it would be to implement any of these ideas in any of these places. At the same time, I’m a customer, and a good one. I spend a fair portion of my disposable income in both Amazon and iTunes and Wikipedia is my go to source for information.

Which is to say that I am not entitled to these changes, but that it is in the best interest of all three services to continue to explore ways to make the experience better for the end user and this is just my two cents on how to please this particular shopper.

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