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Amazon’s Beta Window Shopping Site Amazing or Annoying

Amazon has unveiled a beta version of a new way to browse for books, movies, and music.   The site is both scrollable and zoomable. It’s easiest to use with your keyboard (right and left arrows and space bar for zooming).   I would like longer excerpts for books.   Right now I think the new site is amazing but I wonder if it would be annoying over time. I would love to see this sort of thing incorporated in more shopping sites though.

It’s often said that the best advertising for a book is in the bookstore itself. If more and more books are bought online (either in paper or digital form), space on Amazon’s windowshop would be premium.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. theo
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 21:51:27

    WOW! That made me really….



  2. Mrs. Magoo
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 22:20:23

    It looks really cool to me! :)

  3. CHH
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 22:47:06

    I’m going with annoying. Bad enough the site tries to recommend Twilight crap every time I log on (What in my buying history makes them think I want to see those stupid book covers? If I give a bad review, will that make the Twicrap go away?), but the window shopping reminds me of one of my cousin’s video games. I’d hate to navigate that site on a dial-up.

  4. Karen
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 23:07:06

    Borders has something like this on their web site, and it’s very annoying. The biggest hassle is if you’re looking for a book and you don’t know what the cover looks like. You have to squint at all the covers and try to pick out the one you want. Some covers have a big clear title that you can easily read, but other covers have the title in smaller print or in a font that’s hard to read, and it can be difficult to find the book you want. I often use the Borders web site to find out if a book is in stock at my local store, and it always gives me a headache.

    Not to mention, these kinds of sites don’t always work with older computers. I’ve had to stop buying from several web sites because they won’t show up properly on my old computer. Hopefully Amazon will still offer a more basic search page for the low-tech user.

  5. Laura K
    Oct 27, 2008 @ 23:48:58


    But my eyes aren’t great and I am epileptic on top of that, so when I see crud like that my first thought is always “way to give me a seizure, guys.” Couldn’t they at least just put something down the side so I could choose that I only want to look at books?

    I suspect that this is suppose to mimic the “new release” table in brick and mortar stores where publishers pay to have their books set up face out. The theory is that publishers would pay Amazon to put their work here, assuming that it would bring more readers/listeners/etc. But I don’t think people shop online the same way they shop in person, so I doubt it’s worth the money to the publishing houses.

  6. Erastes
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 07:06:40

    Interesting. Black screen, blurry graphics and it nearly killed my PC. Annoying, definitely.

    I’ll certainly not be using it, that’s for sure. I don’t buy things just because they are best sellers, anyway – I tend to look for specifics.

  7. BevQB
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 11:07:48

    WHEEEEEEE!! That was kinda fun! And, unlike Border’s new site, it actually loaded right up through AOL.

    Would I find it useful? Nah. The info that can be displayed at any one time is too limited (which is another complaint with the Border’s site). It’s much faster to just browse through the new releases by genre pages.

  8. Emily
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 12:57:38

    The concept is interesting and I love fun graphics but my laptop almost died because of it. The pictures are blurry (was it the sight or my poor little laptop?) and honestly, I am not interested in a “display” online store that doesn’t feature anything but the most popular reads and music. No romance in there, did you notice?

    I think with a little work it could be great but I have my doubts.


  9. DS
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 13:53:02

    This rather reminds me of the Cool Iris add on to Firefox which I use a lot when I’m googling for images. I don’t know about browsing books, but I did like the music samples. Everything loaded quickly and I didn’t have any trouble with it. My computer is four years old so it works on not the latest and greatest.

  10. Shiloh Walker
    Oct 29, 2008 @ 06:24:42

    Annoying. Very, very annoying.

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