Q: Is this not a store? A: It is aStore!

I’ve been experimenting with Amazon’s aStore off and on for the past few weeks, and I finally decided to link to it from here. It’s fairly easy to set up, so long as you’re not super picky about how it looks.

I spent a lot of time hacking the appearance of the Musicwhore.org aStore (and its Japanese counterpart), and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t quite get the Musicwhore.org template to integrate. Eh, close enough for government work.

Back in 2002, the affiliate tools offered by Amazon weren’t sophisticated enough for me, so I used the web services to create my own storefront. Neglect, however, put a kibbosh on that project, and I’ve long since decommissioned it. aStore is definitely a step in the right direction, and it achieves things I wish I had time to develop lo so many years ago. But it could go further.

The widget (see top right) randomizes between the first 10 items in the first category listed in the store. I added quite a number of products, so I’d like to feature them equally, especially titles mentioned in the Review Round-Up category.

I also wish the localization features of the Japanese store were also available. If you go to Amazon Japan directly, you can toggle most of the interface into English if you click on a link asking, "Would you like to see this page in English?" (You need to view a product page to do so.) The product information won’t localize, but the interface portions — add to shopping cart, add to wish list — do.

Also, aStore doesn’t offer a search box for stores with hand-picked inventory. Given the selective content on this site, I’ll bet the Josh Groban Christmas album would not find its target audience here. As a result, titles are strewn all over the place without a way to corral them.

Perhaps these features will be available in the future.

Most of the Musicwhore.org aStore lists CD titles, but I do include a section for MP3 downloads. A lot of these titles have overlap with eMusic, but I was surprised by the number of major label titles I could include. I guess I’m not totally a whore for WEA.