Have you ever had difficulty locating a book on Amazon? Have you ever noticed how some of the categories assigned to art books listed on Amazon are completely ludicrous?
You can see which categories a book is in by scrolling down the page until you get to the section about Product details where it highlights how a book ranks in different categories
Now ranking is partly about how good a book is. It also depends on whether it's in the right category and can actually be found by those who might be interested in buying!
Now art books aren't one of the categories requiring approval. Besides which most new books are being listed by the publisher prior to publication. There are also a number of category and product restrictions - but I'm unclear as to whether these are the reason behind some of the crazy listings.
It appears that the problems arises when a new product is added - and I guess is caused by whoever has that task and the difficulty in changing categorisation. The following relates to how this step is described for Amazon.co.uk. I suspect that the problem arises because of problems with people understanding how best to use keywords - and because there appears to be no quality assurance process in place.
Step2: Classifying a ProductIs it Amazon or is it the publishers not understanding the way the categories work?
In this step, you'll choose your product's category, subcategory, and the type of product it is. As with other steps, the page-creation form will prompt you through this process. Choose carefully: it will not be possible to edit these elements of a product after it is fully created.
What I do know is that very many art books are extremely difficult to find on Amazon - and I know because I've been searching for books which relate to a number of different topic areas and it takes hours and hours each time I develop an information site! I find I very often have to search knowing the precise title and artist if I want to find a particular book as it simply does not emerge through searches even though the book is listed.
I've come across books which are not even listed in the Books category. Recently I found one botanical art instruction book in the Home and Garden category which I guess is where it would have stayed if I didn't happen to know the author!
What I also know is that there are some completely ridiculous rankings in different categories. You can find one example below relating to amazon.co.uk.
Nothing wrong with the books except the category is painting and drawing animals and all the books are about still life!
in the Techniques and Tools for Drawing and Painting Animals category
The same thing applies to the Drawing and Painting Landscapes category! Lots of still life and no landscape books are in the top places!
Still Life Books in top ranked places
in the Techniques and Tools for Drawing and Painting Landscapes category
This one made locating books for The Best Books about Landscape Art just a teeny weeny bit difficult! (major understatement!)
I'd love to hear if anybody has ever tried telling Amazon how silly their categorisation is. I wish they provided a feedback link which we could use to tell them when they've got a book in the wrong places.
I'd also be interested to hear from authors about how easy it is to get a category changed. I've certainly discussed this with a couple of authors and it doesn't appear to be too easy.
The situation is not helped by the lack of a site map which makes it easier to see
- where categories are missing eg despite vast quantities of books about how to draw and paint flowers there is no category for this!
- where categories are duplicated - which means you can get a very odd perspective about which books are listed on Amazon
Art, Architecture & PhotographyWomen & Art
|Painting & Drawing||Painting|
|Techniques & Tools||No expansion of instructional to further categories|
Resources for Artists
If you'd like to see the fruits of my labours finding the books from the nether regions of Amazon you can see what's on offer in my information site - Books for Artists HQ. I should emphasise that I've been trying to locate the better books.
A Compendium of Books for Artists
Find out which are the favourite books of many artists. Learn the answers to which are the best books about composition and design, colour, drawing and sketching and watercolour painting. Find out which are the favourite books of botanical artists and landscape artists. Check out the best reference books for artistsThis is a lensography which provides a home for all the 'resources for artists' sites about art books published by makingamark. One bookmark to access all those recommended art books!