New categories in the USA Kindle store

New categories in the USA Kindle store

In March of last year (2012), I did a post which broke down the categories in the USA Kindle store:

Kindle bestsellers (free and paid)…by category

Well, I’ve noticed recently that the categories have really changed! There are a lot more of them, and they seem more…in the know.

There are also some other searches which appear in the Kindle store: for example, I’ve seen searches for types of characters, for authors within a category, and for series.

I find categories of things fascinating. 🙂 It just intrigues me the way that humans try to lump things together, and split other things apart.

It’s a natural tendency and yes, it can make things a lot more efficient.

However, it can also paint things with an inappropriate brush. Let’s say you decided that, oh, all bees will sting you. Certainly, some bees will, but some bees are not going to sting you. It’s a safe strategy to avoid all bees in that case, by lumping them into the “stingers” group. The “bee fly” takes advantage of that, and even though it doesn’t have a stinger, it looks like a bee…so it stays safe because people (and other animals) avoid it.

Forteans (followers of Charles Fort) make an effort not to categorize things. One of the core ideas of Fort is that definitions are artificial. As Fort put it,

“…if, upon the basis of yellowness and redness, Science should attempt to classify all phenomena, including all red things as veritable, and excluding all yellow things as false or illusory, the demarcation would have to be false and arbitrary, because things colored orange, constituting continuity, would belong on both sides of the attempted border-line.”

One of my old jokes: “Question: Why did the Fortean cross the road? Answer: There isn’t another side.” 😉

Let’s, then, take a look at some of these new categories…and a bit at the other searches.

We’ll start out with

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The categories are:

  • Adventure (16,991)
  • Alien Invasion (688)
  • Alternative History (3,109)
  • Anthologies & Short Stories (8,879)
  • Classics (591)
  • Colonization (516)
  • Cyberpunk (583)
  • Dystopian (1,647)
  • First Contact (297)
  • Galactic Empire (322)
  • Genetic Engineering (1,126)
  • Hard Science Fiction (4,116)
  • Metaphysical & Visionary (1,140)
  • Military (3,598)
  • Post-Apocalyptic (1,805)
  • Space Exploration (429)
  • Space Opera (5,378)
  • Steampunk (865)
  • Time Travel (1,955)
  • TV, Movie, Video Game Adaptations (1,548)

Under that, we get an author list that calls out to me what is an odd assortment:

  • Victor Methos (4)
  • Susan Kaye Quinn (12)
  • Orson Scott Card (57)
  • Max Brooks (1)
  • Hugh Howey (19)
  • Matthew Mather (3)
  • Kurt Vonnegut (20)

However, there is also a link to “See more…”, and that brought me to this fascinating page:

Science Fiction authors page

It has thirty-four pages, with about 50 authors per page…and some of those authors only have one title listed. It’s possible that every author is listed (alphabetically by first name, by the way).

For example, I could click

Alastair Reynolds

and get to a page with just that author’s books…which I could bookmark for future use using my browser.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people wanting to search by author. Yes, you can put the name in the browser, but that’s not really very reliable. Well, there is a search box on the author page, and it seems to work.

That should mean…yes, there is an authors page for the whole Kindle store!

Kindle Store authors page

There you go: you can now search by author. I’m going to add that link into the blogsite.

Okay, back to SF&F.

After authors, you have series, and again, that list is a bit odd to me:

  • Mindjack (5)
  • Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood (18)
  • Ender (8)
  • The Descent (8)
  • Odd Thomas (8)
  • Elemental Mysteries (4)
  • Silo Saga (10)

Again, clicking “See more” brings up this:

SF&F series page

There doesn’t seem to be one of those for the whole store, though.

It does have a searchbox.

Here are the filters for types of characters:

  • Aliens (4,781)
  • AIs (535)
  • Clones (345)
  • Corporations (124)
  • Mutants (197)
  • Pirates (341)
  • Psychics (624)
  • Robots & Androids (1,140)

No “See more…” on that one, though.

Next we get genres:

Horror (2,884)
Humor (1,975)
Mystery (2,320)
Non-Romantic (45,922)
Romantic (4,505)
Thriller (3,493)

Those are genres within science fiction and fantasy.

One more thing: there is a link to filter for books which have Whispersync for Voice:

Whispersync for Voice (1,157)

Oh, actually, there is another filter…number of stars:

4 & Up (19,120)
3 & Up (22,903)
2 & Up (23,644)
1 Up (24,032)

Hm…does that mean that no SF&F book has gotten 5 stars average? Sorting by Customer Reviews for the whole list, that seems to be correct…nothing higher than 4.9. Looking at these numbers, my guess is that there is a threshold for number of reviews before it counts for this listing.

Okay, let’s take a look at Romance:

African American (2,598)
Collections & Anthologies (5,993)
Contemporary (40,800)
Fantasy (9,506)
Gay Romance (6,611)
Gothic (600)
Historical Romance (18,051)
Holidays (2,031)
Inspirational (6,958)
Lesbian Romance (1,371)
Military (1,232)
Multicultural & Interracial (1,893)
Mystery & Suspense (12,279)
New Adult & College (1,026)
Paranormal (15,394)
Romantic Comedy (5,203)
Science Fiction (1,615)
Series (14,777)
Sports (764)
Time Travel (1,645)
Westerns (3,640)

Author
Anya Wylde (1)
Ann Charles (2)
Martin Crosbie (1)
Kate Perry (7)
Marie Force (17)
Linda Ladd (2)
Kimberly Kinrade (2)
› See more…

Romantic Themes
Amnesia (182)
Beaches (536)
Gambling (200)
International (119)
Love Triangle (1,243)
Medical (928)
Secret Baby (553)
Vacation (184)
Wedding (689)
Workplace (230)

Romantic Heroes
Cowboys (1,364)
Doctors (321)
Firefighters (115)
Highlanders (473)
Pirates (436)
Politicians (510)
Royalty & Aristocrats (1,097)
Spies (749)
Vikings (181)
Wealthy (942)

Whispersync for Voice
Whispersync for Voice (3,731)

Avg. Customer Review
4 & Up (67,675)
3 & Up (80,362)
2 & Up (82,839)
1 & Up (83,929)

Looking at these, I wonder if they are derived from customer placed tags? It seems odd for an Amazon employee to create a category for “Secret Baby”. You know, that would make sense: Amazon is probably creating filters out of popular tags…clever. That crowdsources the categorizing, which is probably not a bad way to go.

Now, what Amazon needs to do is let us sign up for an e-mail when a page changes, so we could know when our favorite authors/genres/characters/series have new books…

What do you think? Are these the categories you would have picked? Do you care about categories? Are you going to bookmark author or series pages? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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4 Responses to “New categories in the USA Kindle store”

  1. linnerlu Says:

    I shop by Categories, so they are important to me. I always wish for one category which is missing: “NON-Serial”! I really don’t like getting suckered into a series, and prefer each book I read to be a stand-alone work. I’m probably in the minority here, but there may be others like me who would appreciate this category.
    Thanks, Bufo, as always, for a great article, with lots of useful information.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, linnerlu!

      Based on what I was seeing, it might be possible to get that to show up if you tagged a bunch of books with it. I’m not sure what the parameters would be for a tag turning into a category.

      I might use the term “complete story” rather than “non-serial”…or maybe “stand alone” would be best.

  2. jjhitt Says:

    Never would have guessed that Romance was such a robust genre. Vikings? 181 Viking Romance books?
    [Crank up the Wagner, put on a brass brassiere and call me Olaf.]

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Olaf! 😉

      Oh, yes…some romance readers read a lot, and variety and easily defined sub-genres work well with those sorts of populations. I remember one reader when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore who would buy what averaged out to more than a romance a day. It’s not wholly dissimilar from science fiction & fantasy readers…

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