Many authors believe that all you need to do is find your book on a retail site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, copy that link, and voila, you have a buy link!
That is partly true, but there’s one small problem with that method which will cause problems on several (if not all) of those retailer sites.
When you copy the link, you are including coding for your original search terms. First of all, this makes for a very long, inelegant URL. (There are rumors about the search terms also messing with stats or verified purchases on Amazon, but I have not confirmed those.)
Let’s focus on making usable, readable, elegant URLs for your buy links. You have multiple options!
OPTION 1: SHORT LINK
Create a short URL for your book using a tool like Bitly.
But personally, I like to be able to see the destination of my book URLs so that I make sure I am linking the right icon to the right destination. Short URLs tend to hide the destination so you can’t look at the link and easily know where it’s going.
OPTION 2: MANUALLY FIX THE LINK
For each of the main retailers, you can pull out parts of the link that are unnecessary (like the search criteria) resulting in a shorter link, but one that is obvious what retailer it directs readers to.
Below shows you how to get a working link that only has the important information. With each example below, I’ve included the original longer ULR. The parts you care to keep are highlighted red. Then I show the shorter URL.
You care most about the AISN (a unique combo of letters and numbers that always follows the “dp” in the URL. It is also listed in the Product Details section (if you scroll down the book page).
BARNES & NOBLE
You care most about the first combo of numberes listed before “?ean=” (not after.
Kobo already nicely shortens their links for you, but you can shorten a little bit more.
You care most about the id= and the letter combo following it.
Apple is it’s own kettle of fish. With Apple, because of how iTunes works, it’s easier to create the link from scratch. What you need is the ISBN #.
See the link before for the US. Replace the “1111111111111” with the ISBN # for your book. Do NOT include spaces or hyphens.
CREATE THE URL
OPTION 3: EXTERNAL LINK PAGE TOOL
If you don’t want to take all the time to shorten the links yourself, you can use a tool like Books2Read.com.
This site allows you to plug in the URL to one retailer (like Amazon) and it will go find your book on all the other retailers. It then creates a single page and provides a link to that page.
This is an excellent option to use for things like a QR code, or to announce new releases. However, please remember that you will be directing readers (new and old) to a page that is NOT part of your own website. So it is up to you if the convenience is worth that.
One final trick that has to do with selling your book to multiple countries worldwide (primarily via Amazon). You do have to have a separate Amazon link for each country.
Change the “.com” part of the Amazon URL to the following:
- US: .com
- Canada: .ca
- Brazil: .com.br
- Mexico: .com.mx
- Australia: .com.au
- Japan: .in
- India: .jp
- Great Britain: .co.uk
- Spain: .es
- Denmark: .de
- France: .fr
- Italy: .it
- Netherlands: .nl
If you don’t want to take the time to try this, you can also use a tool like BookLinker.net. You plug the .com Amazon link into the tool and it gives you a new link which will redirect readers to the appropriate country based on their location.
Note that with most other retailers, you can also create links to other regions (if sold outside the us). Replace the “us” part of the link with “gb” for Great Britain, or “ca” for Canada, and so forth.
What other linking tools do you find helpful? We’d love to hear from you!