The Short Link to Amazon Books (Why Doesn’t Everyone Know This?)

First, here is the wrong way to link to an Amazon book. Search for the book on Amazon, click to open the book’s detail page on Amazon, copy the webpage url, and paste it.

What’s wrong with this? It makes the url much longer than it needs to be.

See this with an example. I’ll go to Amazon’s homepage and type “self publishing chris mcmullen” in the search field, and click on my own book. (I would happily have used your book as an example instead, but you didn’t ask. :-)) Now I’ll copy the webpage url:

http://www.amazon.com/Detailed-Self-Publishing-Amazon-Booksellers–Demand/dp/1480250201/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361505178&sr=8-1&keywords=self+publishing+chris+mcmullen

(Yes, of course I could have given the link a short title. When you insert a link, you can make the text for the link different from the url itself. But that’s not the point. The point is that the url itself can be much, much shorter.)

So what’s the short way to do this? First, find your book’s ISBN (the 10-digit number will work) or ASIN (if you have an ebook that doesn’t have an ISBN, use this). You can find this number on your book’s detail page at Amazon.

The short link has the form http://amazon.com/dp/ISBN (or use ASIN in place of ISBN). Obviously, you have to put the ISBN number in place of the letters I-S-B-N at the end. 🙂

For example, the short variation of the above link is:

http://amazon.com/dp/1480250201

That’s much shorter (and I didn’t even have to use text in place of the url to make it short).

Actually, you can make it even shorter than this. Use amzn instead of amazon and remove the /dp:

http://amzn.com/1480250201

But it’s not much shorter, is it? When you use amazon, people can see they’re being directed to a site that they (hopefully) trust, but when you use amzn instead, it might arouse suspicion (well, it shouldn’t, but it probably will).

Every day, I come across many links that authors have posted to their books, which use the long form instead of the short form. You may have noticed this, too. The easiest way to spread the word is to use the short link yourself whenever you post a link to your books. Somebody may notice and try this out with their own book.

Just think about how much we’re inconveniencing those poor little electrons when we make the link longer that it needs to be. J/K. 🙂

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