Monday, January 4, 2010 as a Research Tool is a fascinating place to visit. To be quite honest, I spend too much money there—enough that my Prime membership has paid for itself. But its a great place, even if you don’t spend a dime. For the author, it contains a lot of useful information. The first thing we notice is that it gives us a relative index of how popular particular books are. If you are looking for the most accurate and most up to date bestseller list, has it and you can filter it down to pretty much any category you would want.

Another thing is useful for is as a means to look at product descriptions. You can walk through Barnes and Noble, pull some books off the shelf and read the backs, but it is much easier to do it on Besides, has several times the selection of Barnes and Noble.

If you are writing non-fiction, makes it fairly easy to find similar books to the one you are writing. With that information, you can then tell any agent you query about the books that are currently available and why you think your book fills a gap left by them. On the other hand, if you find significant overlap, it may help you to see that you need to change the focus of your book or quit the project.

The ability to look inside of the books on is a great feature that allows us to read small portions of a work without having the book in hand. You may want to see how other authors began their books, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money buying books you don’t intend to read in their entirety. The information we need is just a click away.