I've thought for a long time that too much consumer choice can be a bad thing. Whenever I read about being able to download any movie or TV show at any time, I envision myself sitting in front of the TV with an hour to spare, and being frozen by indecision because of the overwhelming selection from which I have to choose. Give me 30 channels of actual variety to choose from and I'll find something to pass an hour; give me every show that was ever made to choose from and I'll give up and go do something else.
Gourmet chefs have known this for a long time. In the main dining room at Chez Panisse, the culinary mecca in Berkeley that started the California cuisine movement, diners have no choice at all for dinner. There's one set menu for the night, whatever wonderful menu Alice Waters has decided for the evening. At many restaurants, the most expensive dinner you can have is the chef's tasting menu, where not only do diners not get a choice but they don't even know what the courses are until until they arrive at the table.
My favorite bookstores are not the ones with the biggest selection, but the ones with a few creatively selected books expertly chosen by the staff and prominently displayed to guide me to new discoveries. Give me a small selection of high quality and unique items over a massive selection anyday.
Obviously there are many exceptions to this rule--searching for the best price on something that you know you want is the most obvious place where complete selection is beneficial. When I'm searching for the best price on a flight where I know the destination and date, I want a website that offers me every possible flight available so that I can find the best price. When I'm searching for a vacation idea, however, I don't want a website that gives me every possible vacation choice--I want a site that has selected a few quality options to highlight and whose selections fit my own tastes.
There's obviously value in the Amazon model, but for me there's also considerable value in the narrowed-by-experts small selection model. We are seeing a current craze for simplicity in design, and the standard innovation development strategy of Subtraction has been around a long time--selectively restricting consumer choice is consistent with both of these approaches.