Hey, B&N: Your Search Function Needs Help

by Evil Wylie

For the search term "Stories Neil Gaiman" on BN.com:The Graveyard Book? Jim Henson's "Fantasy Film Collection"? The book actually titled Stories: All-New Tales by Neil Gaiman shows up as search result #10.

Compare with the search term "Stories Neil Gaiman" on Amazon.com:

This isn't an isolated incident.

Another book that fails to come up? The Daily Show's bestselling book, Earth. Type "earth" as a search term in at BN.com and Amazon.com and see which site leads you to the current New York Times bestseller...and which site leads you to a 2007 paperback by the Smithsonian Institution staff.

For years, BN.com's search results have lagged behind Amazon's in terms of relevance. Want to close the online gap between yourselves and Amazon, Barnes & Noble? FIX YOUR SEARCH RESULTS.

3 Comments on Hey, B&N: Your Search Function Needs Help

  1. what online gap? lol

  2. B&N’s search engine hasn’t ever been great, but it totally collapsed under the Christmas Day load and still hasn’t fully recovered. Updates are running many days behind.

    The original point, though, probably still stands. The default search order for B&N’s search is “Relevance” aka “Top Matches”, which is heavily influenced by sales volume over the past … I dunno, month … and those figures are updated every now and again (did I mention that updates are running behind?) New titles consequently get short shrift. Gaiman’s book is at sales rank 20,690 as I write this, so now it’s moved up to #4 on the list.

    That “Relevance” formula definitely could use some tweaking. In this case, adding some weight to “title match” and “author match” would have helped a lot.

  3. The Kobo search engine is also horrible. Sometimes I search exact title names & end up with a bunch of wierd options, none of which is the title I searched. I then have to search by author & scroll down until I find the right one. (For some reason when this happens searching with both title & author gets me a no search results found message.) It’s all very odd.

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