Monday, May 01, 2006

Searching

I sell vintage children's books online. Obviously, one of the reasons most people visit my site is because they're searching for a particular book. Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don't. But I'm starting to think that many more people visit because they only partially remember aspects of a beloved book and are using keywords to try to puzzle it out. I get lots and lots of inquiries in which the person can only provide a few images or themes. I've gotten fairly good at tracking down the titles and authors and being able to send the person a link to a copy for sale, but the unsolved mysteries are piling up in my inbox. It's very frustrating to google keyword combinations for an hour and still not be able to nail down the story they're seeking. I hate not having the answer. Loganberry Books has devised a pretty effective "booksleuth" feature on their site. A customer pays 2.00 for a search which is posted online indefinately. Loganberry staff as well as online visitors can then guess at what the book/story might be. I'd really love to come up with a well designed program that could bring all this information together and be the go-to source for matching people with the information they're seeking. We tried a discussion forum briefly, but because of the still slow traffic at my site, there just wasn't enough input to make it successful.
In the meantime, I'll just have to keep doing what I'm doing and enjoy the occasions when I get to send a "book found" reply.

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