Can I browse Amazon totally by user rating?
February 26, 2006 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Can I browse Amazon totally by user rating? I've often thought it would be really neat to see what books on Amazon have 5 stars but also have the MOST number of recommendations. They're probably incredible books. Can I do this?
posted by blahtsk to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the same vain, Librarything's Zeitgeist page.
posted by phrontist at 8:12 AM on February 26, 2006

Thanks for that link, phrontist!
posted by ceri richard at 8:35 AM on February 26, 2006

I looked, but it doesn't look like their API allows searching by that.
posted by grouse at 8:44 AM on February 26, 2006

I've got a fair bit of experience with Amazon reviews, and I'd speculate that the books with most reviews are probably not "incredible books," because popularity and mainstream success attracts Amazon user reviews in droves. I'd bet money that searching for the most-reviewed books will yield authors like Danielle Steel, Stephen King, John Grisham, etc.

What you want is to search for items that have the most reviews and the most words per review, since the mainstream crud seems to attract short reviews like, "This book sucked," or, "Buy this now It rocks I loved it." And no, Amazon doesn't allow this type of search.
posted by cribcage at 8:49 AM on February 26, 2006

I'd say the book with the most reviews is probably the Da Vinci Code or something equally inspiring, and the top reviewed books probably are books you've heard of and heard of and heard of. If you are on the lookout for new books, try browing the user lists, like the Listmania or So You Want To... lists. Plug in one of your favorite books into the Amazon search and start clicking away. You'll definitely find some great stuff.
posted by apple scruff at 10:26 AM on February 26, 2006

phrontist: neat link. I didn't know this exisited and it looks like a neat app. Thanks!
posted by punkrockrat at 10:38 AM on February 26, 2006

No magic bullet, but you can game the Amazon search engine to get closer to want you want. Simply search for a non-noise but common word in the title at the "Advanced Search" link in the Book section. After the list of books containing that word in the title are displayed, select sort by average customer review. For example, the title word that gives 57638 books, high gives 62881 books, computer gives 66586 books, and one gives 78539 books. Or, if that's not giving a large enough selection, on the advanced search page you can go down to "Power Search" and use wildcards with your word: e.g. putting title: high* in the text box lists 109055 books.

This approach will quickly show you more five-star books than you could ever have time to go through. (Personally I'd recommend scanning down to 4.5 stars or thereabouts as it can take only one crank or misvote to drop a perfect rating when a book has a smaller number of total reviews). Hard to tell what scoring mechanism Amazon uses, but based on the list order, it appears that actual review score for all reviewers means more than pure sales popularity. The first book on the high* list isn't even listed in sales rank (although it has 118 reviews), the second is 11060th, third is 1801852th, and number twenty is 2718th.

If you would like than the standard ten books display per page, you can also tweak the Amazon display URL to make it list 25 books per page, but I'll leave that for now. I'm thinking there should be a way for a user to set this via his or her Amazon preferences, but can't find where it's done.
posted by mdevore at 12:28 PM on February 26, 2006

Best answer: Go to the amazon Power search screen (not advanced)
not author:kjhgjhk

This returns 11940026 results

Then sort by customer review:

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by Mary Grandpre, J. K. Rowling (Turtleback - June 1998)
posted by Lanark at 1:31 PM on February 26, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, great, thanks!
posted by blahtsk at 4:16 PM on February 26, 2006

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