Usability issue for Kindle on Amazon.com

Noticed a small usability issue with how Amazon.com promotes Kindle editions of print books.

This is what’s known as a bad default – it often happens when there are multiple defaults that could be considered logically correct, but only one is going to be considered correct by most users.

The scenario: while there is a separate URL For kindle editions of books, most often it seems people are sent to the print edition page, which shows the list of formats in a nice box in the middle of the page.

As you can see in the image below, the kindle edition listed is old. It’s for the first edition of the book. You’d only notice this if you hovered over the kindle edition link long enough to see the old cover and pub date, which people in a rush to purchase are unlikely to do.

To find the latest kindle edition, you have to click on the little + icon to the left, and then click on the newer edition listed below. Surprise! The best, most awesome edition of the book is hidden down below.

The solution:

Change the default. As a rule, always default to the most recent edition of the book.  For anyone who wants the first edition for some reason, they can dig in to find it. For everyone else, default to the most recent.

4 Responses to “Usability issue for Kindle on Amazon.com”

  1. mike

    Yup, and when this happened to me they lost all profits on that sale, as they had to reverse the sale of the old book.

    Reply
    • Scott Berkun

      To be fair, its only an issue for books that a) had a second printing b) also have a kindle version. Maybe this doesn’t happen as often as I think, or most kindle sales come through the kindle itself, I’m not sure.

      I know my purchase habits are mixed – half the time I buy kindle books on amazon.com, and the other half on a device. But I have no idea how that maps to the rest of the kindle using subset of our species.

      Reply
  2. Dan

    I’ve noticed this problem for books in general–not just Kindle books. The “Formats” list frequently fails to show edition numbers/dates. If you go directly to one of the “New from” / “Used from” links, you might order the book without ever noticing that you chose the wrong edition. (Fortunately, they have great customer service, and when this happened to me, I got a refund without having to return the book.)

    Reply
  3. Scott Berkun

    Issue fixed. Amazon.com now reports the newest kindle version fist:

    Thanks Amazon.

    Reply

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