Author Stephan Eirik Clark thinks that he may have been a victim of Amazon’s algorithm rigging.
In a column for Slate, Clark claims that his book Sweetness #9 was not available in Amazon search results. The book, which is available for presale and ships in August, only showed up when he entered the title of the book and his name. But it wasn’t the top listing. In fact, it was at the bottom of a long list of books with the word “Sweet” in the title, buried under a number of Sweet Valley High books.
Clark theorizes that the poor search results had to do with deals that publishers make with Amazon to get ranked in search results. This practice is outlined in George Packer’s recent New Yorker article on Amazon. According to the story, search results are affected by fees that publishers pay to Amazon.
Unclear on what his publisher Little & Brown has paid to Amazon, Clark points out that his search results got better over time. Today, a search for “sweetness 9” brings the novel to the top of the search results, but it’s not clear why.