I hate Amazon’s recommendation engine

It’s official, I hate the Amazon recommendation engine.

My reading pace has picked up significantly this year. At first I thought it was due to buying a Kindle, which made reading way too convenient, but now I’m wondering if that’s the only factor contributing to my new addiction. I believe Amazon’s recommendation engine may have something to do with it.

Prior to owning a Kindle, I was rarely exposed to Amazon’s recommendation engine for books. I just didn’t read enough, or read often enough, for the suggestions to make sense. Most of the recommendations were centered around products, which typically came in after the fact. For example, after buying a new 55″ TV, getting recommendations for flat screen televisions just isn’t very useful.

Now, I’m getting bombarded with recommendations for books through email and on my Kindle. Once I seeded their algorithm with a few books that I read from similar genres, the suggestions of related books kicked into high gear. My first instinct is to ignore the recommendations, but they’ve helped me discover a number of good books. In fact, my wish list has gone from a paltry 5 items to nearly 40 in the course of a couple of months.

So why do I hate the recommendation engine, well…

  1. It’s made me become addicted to my Kindle. I have so much good material to read, that I’ve become attached to it. I’ve went as far as installing the Kindle app on my phone to feed my addiction when my Fire is out of reach (or out of battery).
  2. It never stops. Just when I think it can’t possibly offer anything new or that I haven’t already seen, it comes up with new recommendations that are oh-so tantalizing. It’s been taking a lot of discipline lately to keep me from growing my wish list even further.
  3. It’s costing me money. After figuring out how to satisfy most of my product needs, now Amazon has figured out how to get further into my wallet to separate me from my cash. A quick review shows I’ve purchased and read 25 books so far this year.

Let’s face it, Amazon has the whole online purchasing thing wired. When they’re able to consistently recommend items that fit my interests and that I enjoy, then they’re doing something right. So while I may complain that I “hate” their engine, it’s a good problem to have, and one I’m sure I’ll figure out how to put up with.

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