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22nd October
written by Steph
A long while back, a friend forwarded me a link to a page on Zappos where you could watch in real-time what shoes people across the United States were buying.  It was pretty fun to watch as I am a self-confessed shoe addict (I love shoes almost as much as I love books, and have lamented on several occasions that you can only wear one pair at a time), and it was also kind of amusing to watch how buying trends for certain parts of the country aligned with my preconceived notions about that region (e.g., lots of Birkenstocks being bought in California, snakeskin cowboy boots in Texas, pumas and adidas and similar track shoes in NYC, etc.,).  I believe the friend who sent it to me referred to it as "my kind of tv", and well, he wasn't wrong. Until now that is! Because now, The Book Depository is offering a similar peek into the lives of its patrons.  For me, this is pretty awesome since it revolves around books (duh!), but also because it's a globally accessed site, and so you can see what people ALL OVER THE WORLD are intending to read, all from the comfort of your own home.  In the brief time I've been watching, someone from Spain has purchased a book on Gymnastics, someone from Italy bought Beloved, someone from New Zealand bought Interpreting Contemporary Christianity, and someone else from Italy (I presume) bought Complete Chinese Knotting (I don't even know what that is).  I love the real-time updates and zooming all over the map as someone from some corner of the globe buys something new. Sigh.  And people wonder how I get by without cable. [For all your book voyeurism (or vicarious book buying) needs, check out The Book Depository Live.]


  1. 10/22/2009

    Oh my. This sounds like something I could watch for hours and cheer along with every time a familiar title came up. So, so cool. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. 10/22/2009

    That is a strangely hypnotic feature. I especially love to look at it after I make a purchase! (I don’t know what that says about me.)

  3. Eva

    SO much fun! Kayak does something similar but w/ searches for flights. 😀 What’s the Zappos link!? I am a shoe addict as well. 😀

  4. 10/22/2009

    @ zibilee: I think I watched it for 10 minutes when I first found it! I was equal parts pleased when something I liked came up as well as when something ridiculous and random showed up!
    @ Teresa: I totally did the same thing when I bought something off of Zappos – I had the map open in one window to see if my shoes showed up (but they never did! 🙁 ).
    @ Eva: I’ve updated the post to include the Zappos link!

  5. 10/22/2009

    Heheh. I do this all the time at The Book Dep after making a purchase, too. Like Teresa said, it’s hypnotizing.

  6. 10/22/2009

    This is GREAT..thanks for sharing. I watched for about 5 minutes and was fascinated to see what people were ordering to read. I am definitely a voyeur when it comes to being curious about what people are reading. I guess that is why I love the blogging community so much!

  7. 10/22/2009

    Amazingly cool!!!

  8. 10/22/2009

    @ claire: I like how there’s actually some precision on the map in terms of where within a given country someone is buying a particular book. I think it’s the zooming about that makes it all especially hypnotic.
    @ Kathleen: I always get a thrill when someone buys a book I recognize (or love)!
    @ Molly: It is cool! Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Kay

    I love watching people shopping live on Book Depository! When I discovered it, back in June, I spent way too much time watching it and clicking on the books… It’s such an original and cute feature!

  10. 10/23/2009

    @ Kay: There is something very mesmerizing about it. The minutes fly by without me even realizing it!

  11. 10/23/2009

    Haha! This is so much fun!

  12. 10/27/2009

    I am a big time people watcher; that is why I love the beach so much. Shopping is another favorite thing, so now if I can watch how people shop…WOW, I’m in heaven…LOL

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