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Tech Industry

Sex, drugs, and the Net?

Sex and violence no longer have a monopoly on readers' interests according to a new top-ten list that shows that people buying books online really want to know more about the Net.

What do Net surfers do when they're not ambling from Web site to Web site? Naturally, they're reading about the Internet.

That's the message from what is probably the best indicator of the offline reading habits of Netizens, Amazon.com's top 100 best-seller list for 1996. The list, released today, suggests that its customers are more interested in setting up spiffy Web by reading books like Creating Great Web Graphics and World Wide Web Marketing: Integrating the Internet into Your Marketing Strategy than perusing the latest Stephen King paperback.

Founded in 1994, Amazon.com has become one of the Internet's most prominent online merchants. The privately held company sells books from its catalog directly to consumers using secure credit card transactions. The company claims to stock more the 1.1 million titles, giving it the largest selection of books in the world.

Amazon.Com
1996 Best-sellers
1. "Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design"; David Siegel
2. "Executive Orders"; Tom Clancy
3. "The Dilbert Principle: A Cubicle's Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions"; Scott Adams
4. "Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk"; Peter L. Bernstein
5. "The English Patient"; Michael Ondaatje
6. "Idoru"; William Gibson
7. "Airframe"; Michael Crichton
8. "Creating Great Web Graphics"; Laurie McCanna
9. "Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet"; Matthew Lyon, Katie Hafner
10. "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information"; Edward R. Tufte
According to Jennifer Cast, Amazon.com's vice president of marketing, this year's bestseller list reflects the intense interest its customers have in the technical side of the Internet, as well its history. Topping the list this year is Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design by David Siegel. A history of the Internet, Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Haffner and Matthew Lyon, is also in the top ten.

However, Cast believes that Amazon.com's best-seller list will become less technical in the coming years. Although the list is top-heavy on Internet and technology-related titles, other more mainstream books by Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton also appear in the top ten.

"I don't think it will be increasingly technical," said Cast. "But I think we will share some best-sellers with the mainstream best-seller list. But we can feature information about books that bookstores can't." As a result, Cast said Amazon.com's list will continue to feature books that don't show up in mainstream indexes such as the New York Times best-seller list.