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Amazon Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools [Paperback]

Paul Bausch
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
Price: 13.76 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Aug 2003 Hacks

Amazon Hacks is a collection of tips and tools for getting the most out of Amazon.com, whether you're an avid Amazon shopper, Amazon Associate developing your online storefront and honing your recommendations for better linking and more referral fees, seller listing your own products for sale on Amazon.com, or a programmer building your own application on the foundation provided by the rich Amazon Web Services API.Shoppers will learn how to make the most of Amazon.com's deep functionality and become part of the Amazon community, maintain wishlists, tune recommendations, "share the love" with friends and family, etc. Amazon Associates will find tips for how best to list their titles, how to promote their offerings by fine tuning search criteria and related titles information, and even how to make their store fronts more attractive. And the real power users will use the Amazon API to build Amazon-enabled applications, create store fronts and populate them with items to be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon. And just about anyone can become a seller on Amazon.com, listing items, deciding on pricing, and fulfilling orders for products new and used.


Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (30 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005429
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 15.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 818,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"The ultimate guide for searching for, and selling goods on Amazon." PC Plus, April

About the Author

Paul Bausch is an accomplished web application developer, and is the co-creator of the popular weblog software Blogger. Among his recent applications is BookWatch, a site that scans weblogs for book mentions, analyzes them to find the most frequently mentioned books, and uses the Amazon API to display the results. Paul is also an accomplished writer, and is the co-author of We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs, published by Wiley.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good for web developers 22 Feb 2004
Format:Paperback
If you're interested in adding Amazon Affiliate schemes to your website, working with the API, or just finding what you want more easily, this book is excellent. It starts with the basics - how Amazon's file structure and ASIN numbers work - and moves through more complex Affiliate schemes to finish off with details of how to use the API to write your own applications.
Some parts are exclusive to Amazon.com - but hopefully Amazon.co.uk will add these features soon. Others are slightly out of date, but that's to be expected - I found no glaring inaccuracies. Using info in this book, I went from an amateur Affiliate to writing a program using the API for my website. Yes, a lot of this info is available on the web, but this book collects it all together, and can be read in the bath...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to Amazon 26 July 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book covers a wide range of tips and tricks for using Amazon. These include at the beginning a range of advice for people who want to know more about shopping on Amazon and using the Friends and Family area and Wish Lists, but you will get a lot more out of it if you have an Amazon Associate account and Developer token with web hosting which supports the use of PHP, as many of the scripts provided only work if you're able to upload them and use them online.
I am a little puzzled that nowhere in the book is it stated that you should not direct link to Amazon's images - all the hacks around the use of images involve direct links even though it states clearly in the Associate terms of service that you should upload images to your own server rather than linking directly to images on Amazon.
Many of the tips are also aimed at amazon.com rather than amazon.co.uk but most will work on all the Amazon sites.
It's a great book and well worth keeping to hand even if you're just browsing around adding to your shopping cart and/or Wish List!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 23 Mar 2013
By A Smith
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well worth a read for anyone considering going into business or for anyone who needs a little inspiration. Great value too.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome collection of 30 Aug 2003
By Todd Hawley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having posted over 200 reviews on Amazon over the past three years, I thought I was reasonably familiar with what Amazon had to offer on its site. While I was familiar with wish lists, posting reviews and the like, this book proved me wrong, as I learned about numerous other features (especially movie show times!) that Amazon offers. Among the features are finding individual ASIN's (Amazon Standard Item Number) for each product listed on Amazon, switching to a text-only Amazon (good if you want Amazon's site to load quickly), "power searching" on books, linking to personal Amazon reviews from your own web site, and countless others. There are also hacks designed to make it more convenient to sell items through Amazon, or participate in the Amazon community, even some hacks designed to let you use Amazon's Web Services. I'm not a programmer, so I'm not interested in those hacks specifically, but they do show how Amazon's Web Services can be used to create alternative interfaces that may be of use to Amazon or other fellow programmers.
Amazon Hacks shows how by using some "tricks," you can make your own use of Amazon and its numerous services that much more enjoyable and useful. This book is a wonderful "guide" to some interesting "hacks" that can be used while browsing the Amazon.com site.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Most Info No Longer Applies due to Amazon Restructuring of Site 30 Sep 2009
By texasbusybees - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Do not bother buying this book. Most of the information in this book is not only outdated, but no longer applies (obsolete). Amazon has changed its site and practices considerably since this book was written.

Examples of obsolete information include lengthy instructions for doing Amazon auctions and listing items on their Z-shops. Both no longer exist on Amazon.

Even the simpliest basic info has changed from the sold ship now emails to shipping to getting paid.

There was so much obsolete and out of date information that it became hard, if not almost impossible to sort out what still could be used in the here and now. In the end, I gave up trying to figure that out (too time consuming) as I didn't trust any of it to still be applicable. So, the book has been tossed into my handy dandy circular file, the only good place for it.

Best to read the site itself for the latest info.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interested in Web Services? 8 Sep 2003
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There are 3 types of people who might benefit from this book. The first is someone who wants to use Amazon in a non-technical context. Suppose you are interested in posting reviews of your favourite books, or in selling via Amazon's fixed price Marketplace or using its auctions. You can directly follow the instructions on their website. But maybe you want an independent assessment that is easy to understand? If so, here is the book.
The second case is someone who runs a website and knows some programming and is interested in perhaps earning some extra income by directing traffic from her site to Amazon. Or maybe using the gigabytes of data that Amazon makes available via its Web Services [AWS] in some fashion that adds value to her site. The beauty of this book is that for a given task [which the author calls a "tip"], 2 key things are supplied. Most importantly, Bausch shows that the task is possible. The proof of concept, if you will. Experienced analysts know that this is often the hardest step. Next, he shows a way to do that task. He has carefully written these in various languages, like perl, JavaScript and ASP. If he wrote a particular task in, say, perl, and you don't particularly care for perl, you can easily recode it in C, C++ or whatever. Straightforward.
The third type of reader is someone who has no interest in Amazon, per se. Rather, you are acutely interested in learning and writing Web Services. This is such a nascent field that there is a paucity of real life applications that an arbitrary user on the net can experiment with. Amazon is one of the few companies that currently makes available Web Services with a rich pool of data. If you are keen, Bausch has several tasks where he integrates AWS with those of Google, USPS and other sites. Well worth studying carefully for inspiration. Of course, ten years from now, we will all laugh at how primitive the current Web Services are. But perhaps you can take some ideas gleaned from this book to bring about that very outcome. The whole field of Web Services is so inchoate that maybe just as Jeff Bezos came up with the idea of selling books online several years ago, you might do likewise with an innovative service.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Customers, Sellers, Amazon Associates & Web Developers 29 Nov 2003
By mirasreviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In "Amazon Hacks" author Paul Bausch presents 100 "hacks" that will help customers and sellers get the most out of Amazon's vast database. The book is organized into 6 chapters. The first three are dedicated to hacks that customers will find useful: "Browsing and Searching", "Controlling Your Information", and "Participating in the Amazon Community". Chapters 4-6 present hacks that will be useful to Marketplace Sellers, Amazon Associates, and web developers: "Selling Through Amazon", "Associates Program", and "Amazon Web Services". The complexity of each hack is rated beginner, moderate, or expert. Most of the hacks in Chapters 1-3 are suitable for beginners, with some moderate and advanced hacks in there as well. Chapters 4-6 contain mostly moderate to expert hacks, with Chapter 6 leaning toward expert.
I commonly spend several hours per day on Amazon (ahem, cough, cough!). The site is constantly changing, and there is always something new to discover. But I have acquired a decent familiarity with Amazon through all of my countless (and they shall remain that way) hours of clicking around the site. From this standpoint, I would say that the first 3 chapters of "Amazon Hacks" don't provide any understanding of the Search, Community features, or Account information that someone who has been around a while would not already have. In fact, the book's information on Amazon Community features isn't comprehensive. On the other hand, there are hacks for getting additional utility out of Amazon such as: configuring Internet Explorer to search Amazon from its address bar or any web page, adding an Amazon sidebar to Mozilla, prioritizing your wish list using a third-party service, sorting recommendations and items by average rating, finding a purchase circle by zip code, tracking the sales ranks of items over time, and how to perform a lot of tasks remotely.
I am not a programmer or an Amazon Associate, so I am not in the best position to judge the helpfulness of Chapters 4-6. But it looks to me like Amazon Associates who want to integrate more information from Amazon's database into their site could benefit immensely from Chapter 5. You will find how to: allow customers to purchase items or add them to Amazon wish lists through your site, do that using pop-up windows, create Amazon banner ads that include product recommendations, show Amazon search results on your site, add an Amazon Box to your site, measure and publish your Associates sales statistics, and more hacks along these lines. Chapter 6, "Amazon's Web Services", basically provides hacks that web developers can use to acquire any information from Amazon's database in machine-readable format. Amazon released their Web Services API in 2002, so they are inviting developers to build applications using the Amazon platform. You will need a developer's token, which you get by opening an Associate's account, then screen-scrape to your heart's content!
58 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A super "hacker" guide to getting the most out of Amazon.com 19 Sep 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mention the word "Amazon" today and most people will not necessarily think of the largest river in the world, especially the very young. The common perception of Amazon.com is that it is a web-based bookstore, but like its namesake river, Amazon.com is much more than merely a place to buy books.
Today, Amazon.com is really a complex web application. Instead of just a place to buy various items, Amazon.com is a tool you can customize and adapt to your own uses. This includes participating in the Amazon community, earning money through Amazon's Marketplace and Associates Programs, as well as improving the way you interact with the site.
This latest addition to O'Reilly's very successful Hacks series shows readers of every level how to tap into the power that Amazon offers. Through these industrial-strength tips and tools, readers will learn how to get the most out of Amazon.com.
Over Amazon's lifetime, the company has invested $900 million in technology. Though Amazon.com is more often thought of as an online "shop," today the company is really a highly advanced technology company. More and more, Amazon.com is in the business of providing technology to other businesses, as well as their customers. For example, 30% of Amazon's business is from third-party sales. This means other businesses, and sometimes even competitors are making money through Amazon.com.
In this super new "Hacks" title, we have a call to all true hackers out there to innovate on the platform. By lowering barriers to entry and experimentation on top of the Amazon platform, true hackers are invited to extend and enhance the platform for all to enjoy.
There are tools and tips here that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences, including online shoppers, web site owners, sellers of products, and software developers. Readers are also encouraged to remember that some of the hacks in the book will continue to evolve. You can always find the current ingredients for any serious software development, the Amazon.com API, at www.amazon.com/webservices.
When Amazon.com first opened its virtual doors on July 16, 1995, it was one of several online booksellers. As Amazon embraced the technology to categorize and display millions of books in one space, people embraced the ability to search for and purchase books in a new way. The experience of building a successful business based on an open system like the Web has influenced Amazon throughout its history.
Amazon has consistently pushed the technology envelope in their quest to provide a satisfying, personalized experience for their customers. What started as a human-edited list of product recommendations has morphed into a sophisticated computer-generated recommendation engine that tailors product choices for tens of millions of individuals by analyzing their purchase history and the patterns of other Amazon customers. As the Web evolved into a two-way space for discussion and community, Amazon developed features that let anyone post information and advice about products.
With this intriguing history, it should not have been a surprise when on July 16, 2002 Amazon released a free Web Services interface that gave developers programmatic access to Amazon's vast collection of product and customer data. With this interface, Amazon combined their core features of recommendations, affiliate marketing, and marketplace commerce into a single technology platform that can be used to build applications and businesses.
"Amazon Hacks" is not intended to be merely an exhaustive explanation of Amazon's features. Instead it's intended to highlight some lesser-known features, show some tricks for working with Amazon efficiently, and document ways to access Amazon programmatically. Developers are already creating new features for Amazon through the Amazon API, and it is this book's intent to convey some of their creativity and excitement, inspiring the hacker in you.
Summary of Table of Contents
The 100 Amazon hacks are organized into 6 chapters, including the following:
1 - Browsing and Searching
2 - Controlling Your Information
3 - Participating in the Amazon Community
4 - Selling Through Amazon
5 - Associates Program
6 - Amazon Web Services
Key Topics Covered
This book will show you how to do the following:
Find just the product you are after among the millions available at Amazon
Access, control, and fine-tune your Amazon preferences, recommendations, and information
Participate in the growing Amazon community and integrate Amazon features into your own Web site
Become and Amazon Associate, develop your own online storefront, and hone your recommendations for better linking and higher referral fees
Sell products online using Amazon's billing, inventory, and marketing infrastructure
Build full-scale desktop and server applications on Amazon's Web Services API
Book Contents
304 pages; foreword by the Amazon technology team; preface; figures; tips; sample scripts; index; cover colophon
Author
Paul Bausch
About the Author
Paul Bausch is an accomplished Web Application Developer, and is a co-creator of the popular weblog software Blogger (www.blogger.com). He co-wrote "We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs" (John Wiley & Sons), and posts thoughts and photos almost daily to his personal weblog onfocus (www.onfocus.com).
ISBN
August 2003 First Edition
0-596-00542-3
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