Odd and unlikely book ads appearing on my Kindle

I don’t get it.

While I also read “real” books, I buy most of my eBooks from Amazon. And most of those titles are literary fiction, well-written women’s fiction, well-written memoirs and well-written running/adventure memoirs.

So why in the hell do such unlikely and badly matched books appear as Kindle ads on my device? Amazon has a clear record of the over 300 books I’ve purchased, and none of what is advertised comes close, and I mean not even a smidgen close, to the titles that I regularly buy via Amazon.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not putting down these authors or their works. Writing a book is like running a marathon. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, willpower, fortitude, guts and too many hours to even mention. I get that. I appreciate that.

My problem is with Amazon. Can’t it adjust its algorithms? Can’t it look through my buying and browsing history and do me the courtesy of suggesting titles that have a small semblance of familiarity in terms of my reading likes and purchases?

My Kindle, soaking up the sun at Himmel Park in Tucson.

So just for fun I decided to showcase the Kindle ads that assaulted me this weekend, along with the accompanying blurbs.

Instant Management Development ProgrammeEssential training for new and aspiring managers by R. T. Ellis: For new or aspiring managers, this easy to read guide sets out all you need to know to help you manage teams effectively and develop your people.

–Okay, cool, except I’m not a new or aspiring manager and I have no desire to manage teams or effectively “develop people.” Added kicker: When I looked this up on Amazon, the blurb was misspelled as “Porgramme.”

My Little Book of Putting by G.A.Finn. Some indoor and outdoor putting improvements practices could make next season special for you in the most important area of the game—the money shot!

–Maybe golf buffs would be excited about this but as a distance runner, the idea of golfing makes me want to eat a sandwich and fall instantly asleep. I would like to make “next season special” for me, though, but alas, just not in the realm of golf.

Goals suck by M.F. Stone. Goal-setting lowers your productivity, decreases your quality of life, and slows your progress in areas that matter most. There’s a better approach …

–How odd is it that all of these authors use only their initials? Do they not want to print their full name on their book cover? Or is it the same person writing under numerous pen names? Still, as a goal-orientated person, I don’t care about this one (but good luck to selling your book without a goal, M.F. Stone).

We Have Lost the President by Paul Matthews. A brilliant new comedy-thriller for lovers of British humor. Join Howie Pond in London 2044, as he tries to find a president.

–Well, one could only hope that we’d lose the president, eh?

Worth the Wait by Claudia Connor. From NYT bestselling author …He broke her heart. Now the FBI agent will get down on his knees to win her back. Read the first chapter!

Okay, this one caught my attention because of the hunky guy on the cover. While romances are not my thang, Connor gets points for the sexy dude. P.S. Can I just have dinner with him and forgo the book?

The Code Thief by Justin Conboy and Robin Smith. Hacking was HARD, Hacking out was even HARDER!

–When I read this and saw the word hard, I immediately thought of sex (Probably I was still flustered from the hot dude Connor’s book cover). Then I realized it was about hacking and I, like, totally lost interest.

The Happiness Animal by Will Jelbert. Backed by research from the world’s leading psychologist and full (sic) entertaining and yet poignant anecdotes, this is a candid road map to a better life.

–I’m happy enough already, thank you very much. But still, cute cover.

Lost Dragon by Abraham Williams. At the base of Mt. Fuji Japan, Joseph finds the courage to endure a feud that began ages ago, over the famous Dragon Blades of Clan Dragon.

–Again, totally not my thing.

Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grisson by George Leopold. The first Gus Grissom biography in 10+ years, among the first to extensively research the tragic launch pad fire that killed Grissom in January 1967.

–My partner, who reads mostly biographies, might like this but it’s not at all my style though it did spark my interest enough to momentarily consider Googling Gus (alas, this never happened).

And then finally, finally, one true and real ad that actually fit with my reading style, an ad for an upcoming movie based on a book that I actually read on my (gasp!) Kindle:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

–Oh, praise be god to you, Oprah.


17 thoughts on “Odd and unlikely book ads appearing on my Kindle

  1. I laughed entirely too hard at this, because I always wonder what the heck the algorithms think, and I consider myself fairly well rounded. Sometimes, I think they are trying to hurt me on purpose! I shared your post with my online book club!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hee, hee, I feel the same way, as if it’s personal and Amazon is trying to insult me with its awful book ads. P.S. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for sharing my post with your book club. P.S.S. Hope all is well with you and that you’re all enjoying the spring.


  2. Can an author pay extra to have their book appear in more ads? Like when I use Yelp or Orbitz, even if something isn’t relevant, it looks like it with a small tag that says “ad” somewhere hard to find.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably the authors are paying to have their books appear more often. What gets me, though, is that with some of these books (not all, of course), the authors might have instead used that extra money for editing or more professional covers. But if Kindle ads are my only annoyance, I think I can say that I’m living a pretty damned good life. P.S. Was so much fun tracking you and Matt during the marathon, hee, hee.


  3. Ha! I bet you the same engineers that designed the BING search algorithms, designed the Kindle preferences algorithm! I don’t get nearly any e-books these days from Amazon, but I do buy some things from the Prime side. At least the Prime folks are on their toes. I must drive them absolutely bonkers as I might buy some work-related server accessories, a display case for one of my flags, a commemorative coin, car parts – they can’t determine what I might like based on my buying habits. But when I use BING search, it will take me off down a rabbit hole of items to PURCHASE that have NOTHING to do with the search terms I entered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, ha, Eric, I’ll bet you’re right. Your BING ads sound a lot like my Kindle ads. It is annoying yet sometimes it’s also funny. I mean, do you realize how easily we’ve all bought into this online world, where all of our information is out there for everyone to see and use and throw back into our faces? Anyway, hope you and the family are having a great week and enjoying the spring sunshine (I’m assuming that the sun is shining there, right?).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Some of those are really funny. And what’s with the typos?? People! Not helping yourself sell your books! (Do you suppose the initials are women trying to pass as men – sadly, men probably don’t buy books about putting written by women.)

    I don’t have a Kindle so don’t get the ads, but I do get the Amazon emails, and i must say, they seem to be a lot more on-the-money than your Kindle ads. Weird – you’d think it’d be the same algorithm. (Give Seriously a smooch from me!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never thought of that, women trying to pass as men because you’re right, most men wouldn’t buy books about golf or business written by women which, when you think about it, really, really sucks. P.S. I head home Sunday and I’ll give Seriously a huge smooch from you (and many, many more from me). Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I searched for Imagine Me Gone on Amazon. Immediately Amazon ads for the book started popping up on FB. That lasted for about a week. Apparently their algorithms are good enough to know what you searched for but not good enough to know that I PURCHASED THE DAMN BOOK when I searched for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scary how fast those ads find and follow us, eh? Some of them are relentless, too. Regardless of that, hope you’re chilling out for a great weekend. P.S. Send some sunshine to Alaska, okay? I return in a few days and the weather is going to be a bit of a shock.


  6. Oh, this was funny! I never thought about how Amazon chooses the ads. I’ve gotten ads for The Code Thief and The Happiness Animal on my Kindle. And then some series of horror stories by Susan [something — can’t remember last name]. But I guess I don’t read off my Kindle enough because it’s been pretty much the same three or four ads the last few months. [Truth here: I spend most of my time on Kindle playing a word game, usually before I go to bed ;)] And even though I spend A LOT of time online, reading blogs and newspapers and such, the ads that follow me around are the same ones over and over and over: PACT clothing, yarn, and photography stuff (my husband and I share an Amazon account). On the one hand, I’m glad to see that my shopping habits are fairly boring. On the other, the ads are of stuff I’ve already bought so … the point of the ads is what? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get those horror stories by Susan too (I think her last name is May). I also spend a lot of time (too much time!) reading newspapers and blogs, and I’m kind of addicted to Longreads.com. I can get sucked in on that site for hours. Maybe this is why I’m not writing as much as I used to? Cheers and have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, dear, me too with the newspapers and blogs … well, I’m not reading blogs as much as I used and these days I just scan headlines. The news is just too overwhelming. Although, yay, France!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel sorry for whoever is paying for those ads, too. What a waste! I would be mad. I’ll have to watch mine and see what I get. Henrieta Lacks is such a fascinating story! I wonder if the movie will capture the relationship between Skloot and the daughter (sorry, I can’t remember her name as I read the book years ago).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved the Lacks story, too, and when I was at my sister’s we started watching the movie but after a few minutes, we turned it off. We had loved the book too much and didn’t want it ruined or colored or influenced, etc., by the movie. Cheers and take care. P.S. Have you read the True Story (put out by Creative Nonfiction”) chapbook “Wider Than the Sky” by Phyllis Beckman? It is soooo good. The writing is lyrical and beautiful, the insights deep, and an odd humor pops up every so often, even in the midst of sadness. It’s just so remarkably good. I highly recommend. P.S. It’s only $3.95. I’ll probably be blogging about it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t, but I will put it on my list! OK, just ran over to Goodreads and did that. I know what you mean about movies influencing our views (backwards) of books. They are so limiting.

        Liked by 1 person

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