At Amazon, the end of the all-powerful algorithm?

Launched in 2020 and could fear for a moment the disappearance of the Goodreads platform, bought a few years ago, the new section of the Amazon site dedicated to book clubs testified to a strong desire to come and compete with booksellers on another field, that of the recommendation.

In December 2021, in the specific manga segment, a French connoisseur pointed out Amazon’s somewhat persistent lag in terms of recommendations and trend anticipation. ” he’s an actor who follows the trend, when it comes to manga, but who doesn’t generate it “, he analyzed. According to him, however, it would be enough for Amazon to put a human on the sector to anticipate the trends a little “.

A certain lack of recommendations, therefore, but also of people, with insufficient personalization of recommendations: is the era of the simple algorithm over?

In any case, the highlighting of Sarah Gelman, editorial director of the book section of Amazon, comes to continue a strategy carried out a few months ago. Gathering literature lovers in recommendation and discussion groups, therefore, but also highlighting certain figures of the company.

Sarah Gelman had thus been the subject of an article published by Amazon to praise the firm’s “dream jobs” — a campaign that also seeks to make people forget the many controversies over labor law, including in the United States. Gelman described his two activities, including leading the editorial team at Amazon Books, ” that helps readers discover and love new books “.

Sarah Selects is part of this logic of personalization, with many literary genres intended to be represented there, from romance to biographies through thrillers or science fiction. ” As Director of the Editorial Team at Amazon Books, I read a number of great books. But, sometimes, I come across one that never leaves me, and that I can’t help but recommend to my friends and family. », explains the main interested party.

Anyone can join this club — as long as they sign up and log in to their Amazon account…

Photograph: Inside an Amazon Books store, slated for closure (Joe Flood, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)