Amazon’s robots are going mad too

Posted by & filed under Oddities, Technology.

Usually I gripe about Google, how inhuman and weird its algorithms are, and how blatantly they disregard human habits and behavior (privacy including, as that famous quote from Eric Schmidt let the whole world know, that Google thinks everything should be public knowledge). Alas Amazon’s robots are going mad too. Today’s example of “programmer’s logic sprawl” is the sorting of books. I went to Amazon to check Kelley Armstrong’s books, hoping I’d missed something fun to read from her. I didn’t, though a new book is coming out in less than a month, but then I’ve noticed something odd. I’ve sorted the listing by publication date and I got this:

2008, 2009, 2010, 2007, 2009, 2008, 2009. Hardly seems to be sorted, isn’t it?
Well, in reality it is kinda sorted. Publishers have a habit of re-printing this or that book. And every time there is a reprint, or, say, a new format (even something like a “large print library edition” for triple the cost of twice as large font) Amazon’s robots immediately mark the book with the latest publishing date. Except when you look at main book details, you see the original publishing date, hence weirdo lists where all years are all mixed up.
Smells like strict requirement to do a certain function without actually checking what the end experience will be… *sigh*

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