A new way to explore books

By | December 3, 2012
How do you find good books? How about with help of a clustering algorithm that clusters similar books? Try it… it's an excellent way to explore.

To make it really obvious why: Put in something technical, like 'Cloud computing'. You'll see all the Dummies books clustered into one group, all the legal books in another group, all the programming books in another cluster, and so on – making it easy to navigate and get an overview of the mainstream literature available in a particular niche.

The same thing works, of course, for fiction: put in something like 'Mirrorland' and you'll see respective niche clusters form around similar books.

The power behind this awesome tool? Nothing more than all those 'Customers who bought this item also bought…' suggestions from Amazon. Nothing more powerful than the hive mind!

/via +Paul Christen 

Amazon Products Visualization – YASIV
Amazon visualization shows similar items based on ‘Customers who bought this also bought…’ data from Amazon

29 thoughts on “A new way to explore books

  1. Hemant Shah

    I like the application, and I am convinced on the promise of visualization. I believe the best is yet to come. However, I rarely see the purpose behind most visualizations. We have to ask,  what value do they bring? How does this delivery of search results be any better than the usual way?

  2. Francisco Casas

    +Sean G don't think Google came up with this. The first version of the Amazon Spring Graph (that's the type of graph) was developed in 2006/2007 using Adobe Flex. It's been out there for a few years now…

  3. Stuart Cook

    This is a great little tool. I find hunting for new books really difficult, I tend to go for loads by the same author before moving on to the next one.

  4. Sophie Wrobel

    +Francois Demers I didn't notice anything either – even with a physical book. What evil did you see?

    (I did have to click on DE, if you mean lack of any related objects, as obviously a German title has no related titles in USA, which seems to be the default on Yasiv)

  5. Sophie Wrobel

    +Jurate Stanaityte agree, a filter would be more effective than anything else.  I do however find it useful for exploration – because it does end up clustering results related to specific genres (or niches); but 'drilling down' into a genre, difficulty level, etc. would be wonderful!

  6. Paul Christen

    I don't understand why Amazon doesn't offer this type of UI. I understand that they may need to keep the "old school" UI for some people, but why not let  this exist for the advanced user?

    Very strange.


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