How Amazon Search Really Works

This post takes a deep dive into how Amazon’s search engine works. We’ll touch on information-theory concepts, and aim to use as little technical jargon as possible. If it’s all a bit much, skip to the end to read the summary of takeaways to help you choose and optimize keywords for your book.

Note: ‘keyword’ in this post refers to the seven keywords authors can enter into KDP, or the keywords publishers send to Amazon in their ONIX files. ‘Keywords’ covers both single terms and key phrases (multiple terms).

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Do Writers Write What Readers Want to Read?

Have you ever wondered if the genres authors most enjoy writing in, match the genres readers most enjoy reading? Before self-publishing, all new books for sale were filtered by agents and publishers, who acquired and worked on books they thought would sell well. If there was an oversupply of manuscripts by authors in a particular genre, the competition to be chosen and published within the genre, would be higher too. Enter self-publishing: now any writer can publish, without filter, into any genre they desire. Given the influx of new books across genres, does the proportion of books in each genre meet with readers’ demand?

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