eBay UK seem to have backed down on the roll out of item specfics as the default search for books. Instead, the category now defaults to a sidebar filled with useful clickable links, covering subject and language, and some of the more popular specific categories such as first edition and signed by the author. The links return results for single item specifics – but as those for “subject” largely match the old subcategories, it feels as though you can browse by category again. Those who want to use item specifics in their search, can click for the “advanced finder” and choose the appropriate attributes.
This is a fantastic example of eBay listening to their users and making site changes appropriately. Though item specifics they can be useful in certain circumstances, by introducing the item finder form as the default search method within huge categories, buyers were pushed towards searching for very specific items. The form completely discourages browsing by category, and all the wonderful discoveries and impulse purchases that go with that. Keeping multiple item specifics’ searches for those who need them, but defaulting to browsing by category encourages buyers to browse, and so spend, more.
Many thanks to Okantfoss for the heads up.