The ABCs of Amazon

June 17, 2009 | 11 books mentioned 5

coverYou may have noticed that the search box on Amazon recently added an “auto-complete” feature. So if you start typing in letters, it starts suggesting things that begin with those letters. It’s probably safe to assume that it suggests the most frequently searched words, so, if we look at Amazon’s book section we can type in letters and discover, for each letter of the alphabet, the most popular searches on Amazon. Or, if you like, the ABCs of Amazon (a peek into the reading habits of America and, like it or not, a primer for what’s popular in the world of books):

(Amazon has been known to personalize and regularly adjust its results, so your Amazon alphabet may vary.)

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. "Safe to assume that it suggests the most frequently searched words"? I wouldn't assume that at all – given how hugely successful Google's business model has been, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Amazon was selling paid placement in its search results to publishers.

  2. I don't think that is that case (that they are ads). It is pretty clear that the auto-complete is working off of popular searches. Try 'Fin' on the book main page. 'Finnegans Wake' comes up in the list, which I doubt is an ad. Also, 'Finger Lickin Fifteen' comes up, so I may now be on some sort of list.

  3. Further proof that vampires are becoming the pop music of literature at the moment! It's really time we all moved on.

  4. I ran through the list myself and noticed a few small differences ("Atlas Shrugged" edged out "Angels and Demons"). But on the whole, vampires and Stephenie Meyer seem to rule the list. That's a bit depressing.

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