Do you shop at Amazon for books? Then your first destination is probably the large search field on the top which helps you out when you click on the ‘Go’. Amazon search as such is pretty good and within a few clicks you can pick up your favorite book and trawl for a few more. But as a long-standing Amazon book shopper, you will be glad to know that it’s not the only way to search for books. Amazon itself is a virtual bookstore, as you’ve probably learned if you read our Amazon shopping guide. As one of the most popular destinations on the web, it has allowed Amazon Web Services to be used for third-party web apps.
The result has been other virtual bookstores built on it which give you more ways to browse through Amazon’s shopping stocks and search Amazon for the product you want. Let’s look into seven more ways to search for Amazon books.
Shelfluv is a virtual bookstore in itself that creates a bookshelf filled with the results of your book search. It’s a neat way of looking through Amazon’s impressive catalog. The book covers are neatly arranged and on a mouse-over you get an excerpt and three options – Shelf It, Details, and Buy. The live bookshelf keeps loading books as the search progresses in the backend. At a glance, you can see all the titles that are available. Clicking on a book cover takes you to a neat Summary page which lists the editorial and user reviews. You can click on ‘Shelf It’ and create a nice Amazon collection of books you want to buy.
Looking for the best books at the lowest possible price? As the name suggests, CheapRiver.com searches Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon.co.uk to find the cheapest books for you. If there is a shipping rate for your country, the service will also include the shipping costs. All costs take into account the current exchange rates and fluctuating exchange rates also might help you save you a few cents and shillings. The lowest costs are highlighted in green. (See Directory mention)
Virtual window shopping comes to your browser in a sleek Flash interface with Amazon Windowshop. It’s not only about books though – you have electronic gadgets, toys, movies and videos, and books. The visual interface tells you what’s new and hot on Amazon. Large cover graphics and a smooth flow make this Amazon based service an eye catching immersive experience.
oSkope is a visual search engine that lets you browse and organize items from Amazon, ebay, Flickr, Fotolia, Yahoo!Image Search and YouTube in a very natural way. You start by selecting one of these services. A dropdown helps you pick one from the different Amazon country domains and then you can dive into the different Amazon products starting from books. Hover over the image and you get a larger preview. Click on the image for a more detailed summary of the book. (See Directory mention)
Amaztype is a typographic book search engine as well a cool design project. Apart from books, you can also search music and videos. For books, you can search by book title or author. The results are displayed as a collage of little thumbnails in the pattern of your query phrase (Fall of Giants by Ken Follett in the screen) . This service is more of a design showcase rather than a utilitarian search engine. Though, clicking on the thumbnails will get you the book information to read.
Using Amazon’s API, this web app tries to provide a cleaner and streamlined interface to Amazon’s regular search feature. You can also use it to search for Amazon Prime items. You can apply filters that allow you to sort the search results according to different criteria like sales rank, price, average rating, reviews etc.
Thanks to this Amazon alert and notification service, you don’t have to manually search for your books every time. You just search once and then set up the alert that tells you when theirs a price drop or a book becomes available. You can search by book title, author, publisher, ISBN, ASIN, or any keyword. The types of alerts you can setup for a book include – price changes, availability, new related books, new works by the same author, and special reminders.
I am interested in books, but as we have seen you can use most of these services to search across the length and depth of Amazon’s products. Also, some services are a mix of eye-candy and function, some are purely function, and few are just eye candy. Their use will determine their longevity as many such web services based on Amazon’s API have fallen by the wayside. Do you use a similar Amazon service to go off the beaten track once in a while? Let us know.