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Old 06-21-2008, 08:52 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Amazon virtual bookshelf browsing with Zoomii

Remember Magic Shelf? When Borders introduced this feature last month, we asked ourselves if browsing through a virtual bookshelf could have any advantage over using Amazon's category and ranking system. If you happen to be among those who prefer the virtual brick-and-mortar feeling, without giving up on Amazon, you can now try Zoomii, launched earlier this week. ReadWriteWeb writes:

Quote:
Built on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3), interacting with Zoomii is reminiscent of Google Maps. You can zoom in and out of bookshelves or pan around to navigate the service. The site design feels just like you're browsing a bookshelf at any bookstore except the books are facing cover-forward instead of spine-out. To keep up with the feel of a bookstore, books are organized by author and you can also compare book sizes to get a feel for how big or small a book is.
Official launch report: link

Warning: Firefox 3 users should be aware of some kind of bug in Zoomi slowing your browsing experience down to a crawl. The developers are currently working on a fix.

Related: Amazon and Borders - a match made in heaven?
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:16 PM   #2
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Well, it's interesting. It didn't slow my browser down one bit (I use Maxthon if it matters).

The only downside that I see is that I have to go from the book to Amazon in order to see if it's available on Kindle or not. And out of maybe five books I was interested in buying only one ("A Briefer History of Time") was available for the Kindle.

However, I must admit that I do enjoy running my eyes over the book covers and seeing what grabs me. I probably would have bought the Lewis Black book "Me of Little Faith" ... but no Kindle version. I definitely will purchase Hawking's book.
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Old 06-21-2008, 10:27 PM   #3
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It's a great idea, especially if it's combined with a "browse inside" feature (which could also list all editions available, including the ebooks) and a little more refinement in categories.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:41 PM   #4
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117 matches for science fiction? I think they're not quite ready for prime time yet.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:46 AM   #5
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Very nice! Yes, they need more books. Yes, they need a Kindle section/filter. But what a great start!

No problems browsing with Safari.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:38 AM   #6
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This is the type of thing I have been waiting for! I love ebooks, but I was starting to miss browsing in 'real' bookstores...

Mind you, I won a Sony Reader, so I wouldn't buy in there. However, I make note of the books I like, and then buy them somewhere else.

I know the tool isn't perfect yet, missing books and filters and other such things, but wow. What a great start.
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Old 06-24-2008, 06:47 PM   #7
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I have to be honest, I didn't care for it. Given a choice between Amazon's interface and Zoomii, I'd take the Amazon interface.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:35 PM   #8
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I think this is a dangerous tool, and should be encouraged strongly! Yes, you have to go on to Amazon to find out if a Kindle edition is available, but the style of cover frequently describe the book inside. I just sent some 10 book samples to my Kindle on account of this test run of Zoomii. If they prove as interesting as the available info (cover, blurb, reviews), then Amazon will have quite a few book sales from me.

The ones that didn't have a Kindle edition, went to my wishlist. Eventually I'll check again to see if they have a Kindle edition by then.
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