Kindle store listing of series

Kindle store listing of series

One complaint people have had for years with the Kindle store is the inability to easily find books in a series (and to determine their order).

That’s actually much trickier than you might think. There are series where there is a great deal of debate about the order in which you should read them.

If there were three books in chronological order, and then a prequel, should you read the prequel first?

Amazon has made some attempts to make series easier to find. Sometimes, when I search, I’ll see a link for a series…and that usually has them in order.

The order will often be determined by the publisher…as will which books belong in the series.

I don’t think The Woggle-Bug Book belongs in the series of Oz books (begun with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)…or at least, not in the “famous fourteen”. It’s really a tie-in to a play, takes place in “our world”, and is tonally very different from the others. Some publishers include it: some don’t.

Still, I was excited to see that Amazon now has a page for series in the USA Kindle store:

Series in the USA Kindle Store (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s an alphabetical listing…and there is a searchbox. You can also generally use CTRL+F in most browsers to search the page, if you want.

Unfortunately, as I looked at it a bit closer, there are some puzzlements.

First, there are some series shown with one book in them: what makes that a series?

Second, I couldn’t find the Oz series…or the original Sherlock Holmes books.

Third, series that start with the word “The” are alphabetized in the “T”s. Lord of the Rings, for example, is in the “T”s, not in the “L”s.

Fourth, this is pretty clearly not being done entirely by human beings. Computers can be very good at some task, but there is some “lumping” here which a human wouldn’t have done.  I checked one trilogy…and there were nine books listed. There was another trilogy with a similar name, and they’d been combined.

If this was “informed” by Goodreads (owned by Amazon), I think it would have been a lot better…the same thing goes for Shelfari (also part of Amazon).

Oh, and I can’t blame them for only listing the number of books in the Kindle store…some series have a lot higher numbers than are shown, but only if you include ones not available in e-book form from Amazon.

Anyway, I think it’s a start, and you may find it useful.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think of this feature by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

6 Responses to “Kindle store listing of series”

  1. Malcolm Northrup Says:

    First Series I checked, ‘Jet’ by Russel Blake, is not there even tho it has 7 books in the series.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Malcolm!

      Yes, that is interesting! The books are identified as part of a series on their individual product pages, and there is a series page…so you would think they’d get included on the series portal.

  2. David Jetton Says: is my go-to source for series information.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, David!

      FictFact is a good one. A lot of people also use…Goodreads, owned by Amazon! You would think they could have utilized that in building the page…

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I generally prefer the first publication chronology for most series, but for some the internal chronology is better. Two series that add additional complexity to series chronologies are PG Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle/Uncle Fred series; and the Honor Harrington science fiction series.

    Uncle Fred and Blandings Castle are two separate series, but on occasion uncle Fred visits Blandings Castle to participate in the hijinks there. So if one reads Uncle Fred from beginning to end, you’ll be reading one or two Blandings Castle stories out of sequence. Better to read Blandings Castle first from beginning to end — the complexities (and Wodehouse plots can be very complex) will be less severe.

    The Honor Harrington series at this point actually encompasses five separate series (consult the “Honorverse” wikipedia article to get an overview and some detail). Two of the five are prequels: one the Stephanie Harrington ones are a direct prequel; the other is more of an off to the side prequel. IMO it is best to have read at least a few of the main Honor Harrington novels before reading the Stephanie Harrington ones — as the whole treecat thing will be more fulfilling.

    The other 3 series (which includes the main Honor Harrington series) all tell basically the same story (and story arcs) but told from different character and geography viewpoints. The “Honorverse” wikipedia article lays out a table of the internal chronologies (by month and year) of all the novels in the five series. But since the chronologies are in part disjoint and in part overlapping, it’s hard to figure out the best order in which to read them. Up to this point all the series have come to basically a common date ending — I suspect the next set of novels will start to lay out the denouement of this complex and ambitious plot which spans thirty years of the author’s life and maybe 50 years of internal chronology (:grin).

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Great example!

      It’s difficult to decide how to do it. Reading something in publication order gives you the experience of the release at the time, but doesn’t follow the characters and events the way that chronological order does (when they don’t agree). It’s like TV series: does one watch the original Star Trek in broadcast order, or in production order? Um…I think I’d suggest both. 😉

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