Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Amazon

It would be interesting if, in tandem with sales rank, you could analyze the writing in a book and give it a rank based on how well it’s written. Density of vocabulary, number of words of various types, length of sentences, number of cliches, number of typos, and similar criteria. It would help people find good writers who are buried in the sales ranks. (It would also motivate authors to proofread.) If you set up the analysis so that books by, e.g., Norman Mailer and J.D. Salinger scored well but weighted the ranking toward current writers, it would be an innovation in the industry as well as an alternative to the paradigm where popular writers just keep getting more popular. Offer the customer a choice of how books are sorted, by sales rank or quality rank. The media attention it brought Amazon would naturally result in an increase in sales.

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