Searching for information on investment tips via any of the established online book retailers can be...
Searching for information on investment tips via any of the established online book retailers can be something of a hit or miss affair.
Books were the first products to be offered in quantity through business-to-consumer websites. The most famous of these is Amazon.com - now the name of the company. But how well does Amazon.com do with a few randomly selected phrases while searching for books on investing?
If the title of a book is known, the search should be a breeze, hence Amazon.com was more than capable of dealing with a request to find Investing for Dummies. The company's UK site, Amazon.co.uk, managed to produce copies of both first and second editions of Investing for Dummies, one of them an audio-CD, but the US site was more efficient.
This raises an issue, since Amazon.co.uk is the link provided in a number of different investor websites for users interested in purchasing books.
The link to the bookseller is often provided as part of a business deal. Such a deal might see the website developer or owner rewarded depending on the amount of customers that not only follow the link to Amazon's website but also buy books there. Fortunately, the book market is large enough to support several online bookshops run by different companies.
UK.bol.com, run by Books Online, could only come up with Investing Online for Dummies. WHSmith.co.uk came up with the same titles found on Amazon's US website. Waterstones.co.uk would only come up with Investing Online.
Missing titles do not necessarily mean the shops in question do not have the titles in stock. As with any online retail operation, the crucial issue is how well the warehouses and shops holding the books actually interface with the online sales operations.
Searching by title is different from browsing. A keyword search using the phrase 'investing in Europe' produces wildly differing results, highlighting the problem of relying on crude search engines.
Amazon.co.uk's search function threw up Investing in Women's Health: Central and Eastern Europe. Books Online fares infinitely better, coming up with over 30 titles in response to the search query, revealing Haksu Kim's 2,912 page tome Fundamental Analysis Worldwide: Investing and Managing Money in International Capital Markets.
Despite the advances in search engine technology, it seems the book retailers still have some way to go to satisfy the needs of investors.
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