Shopping Hack for Readers

Here’s a bunch of miscellaneous thoughts and ideas I’ve collected over the years that help with the acquisition of new and interesting books.

1. It doesn’t matter where you live on the ball, you can still browse through

2. Depending on where you’re located on the globe, you may not be able to buy books from

1. If you put a review on, say, Amazon UK or Amazon DE, that review stays there.

2. On the other hand, if you put a review on, it will filter down to all the other Amazon stores (UK, CA, AU, DE, etc.)

3. Not all the international stores have a “look inside” feature, where you can read an excerpt and see the front bit of the book.

4. If you are browsing on and find a book you like, but there is no buy button (because you reside in a country where there is an international Amazon), then scroll down and copy the ASIN. Go to your country’s Amazon and put the ASIN in the search bar. This is a quick way of finding the exact book–including the format that you’re interested in.

In summary:

The main Amazon site provides:

  • All the books
  • The majority of the reviews
  • A peek inside
  • and can help you redirect when you’re ready to buy.

It seems to me that you would be far, far better off doing all your browsing and window shopping on and using your country site only when forced to buy there.

The Ultimate Hack

But there’s one hack to rule them all.

When you search on Amazon, you are always presented with skewed results. They contain:

  • books that have purchased a position in the search results
  • books that Amazon wants you to see, including their own in-house published titles.
  • books that are in Kindle Unlimited and therefore rank higher (because of the ranking bias toward KU titles)
  • and only then are you presented with books that meet your search criteria, that aren’t in any of the preceding categories.

Sometimes it is almost impossible to find a book that matches generic keyword searches. If you search for “space opera with dragons”, you might have to scroll for screens and screens to find actual space opera that really does feature dragons.


If you search on Kobo, you get exactly what you asked for. Kobo does not have an inhouse advertising program, nor their own publishing program, and they don’t skew rankings for their Kobo Plus subscription titles.

So if you’re looking for a type of story, rather than a specific genre, category or title, then search on Kobo first and, if you prefer, then find that specific title on your primary retail store.

Food for thought.

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