Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What my library catalog can do, but Amazon can't

Amazon UK, that is. And neither can Book Depository, Good Book Guide, or Waterstone's online...

Why do they make it impossible to search for books by publication date, or to sort results by "newest first"? I'm writing up my publishing column for August's HNR, the section listing interesting historical novels that will be in stores within the next 3-6 months. Normally I use Amazon UK for this. The advanced search page lets you sort by date, but after you view the first screen's worth of search results, it switches to the usual "sort by bestselling status" arrangement.

This functionality used to be there, but it's not any longer. Other versions of Amazon can do it, though. What I ended up doing to get a list of UK-published historical novels coming out in 2007 is searching Amazon.de for English-language historical fiction, which seems to cover UK as well as US, though it doesn't appear comprehensive.

Maybe only librarians look for this sort of thing, but this annoys me. Grumble.


  1. Anonymous1:57 AM

    Waterstones.com does have this functionality - just select it from the drop down box in search results 'sort by' it is the last option.



  2. Thanks - this does seem to do the trick, although it's roundabout. I'd missed it earlier because first you have to get the list of titles through browsing by genre and looking at the "coming soon" section. Searching for "historical fiction" doesn't really work - you have to browse.

  3. Amazon.de lists all English books avaliable via Amazon.de by either storage in Germany (24 hour delivery) or UK or US (1-3 weeks delivery). Which means I get the books the moment they're out, no matter whether the book is published in the UK or US. But it may be that, for whatever reason, they don't list a book, though I have found what I wanted so far.