Interchangeable Amazon Links

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Interchangeable Amazon Links

Being actively involved with online groups and forums, I see an ongoing issue associated with Amazon’s book links. If you post a link for the American site, the British will ask for the UK alternative. Well, they are pretty much the same except for tiny changes. Until Amazon decides to resolve this caldron of comedy, we are stuck with various Amazon markets and it is up to you to understand some simple facts that will make your shopping experience more enjoyable.

Some people have started using URL shortening services and auto-forwarders that send people to the correct version of Amazon. You need to be aware that these services may be gone tomorrow. Amazon’s ASIN entry remains the same until either you remove the product — and it still remains in the database marked as ‘deleted’ — or Amazon ceases to exist. These link services are not nearly as permanent, so keep this in mind. Make sure people are still able to find your products if those companies disappear. They don’t owe you any warning or explanations. There is always a cost involved with ‘free’.

Using Aeonosphere as an example, I’m not only going to show you how to get the shortest link for a book, but for different markets too. It is as simple as substituting a few letters of the link and anyone can do it. It may be a little more challenging if you are on a small device, but it can be done, nevertheless.

First, I usually only deal with American and British links to books. I have not tested all the other markets, but I would presume that the system is the same for all. You should be able to apply it across the board. If you find it works differently on other markets, please feel free to post your solution in the comments.

Second, the actual URL for the book is quite short. I see people posting these never-ending links that are impossible to share as they get truncated. The process for getting the shortest link is clear once you comprehend the basics of how Amazon’s database works.

So how do you alter an Amazon link so that you can purchase the book in your own country? That is very straightforward. The only part that changes is that the US link is dot.com and the UK link is .co.uk. Delete the M on the .coM and replace it with .uk and you have the correct link.

Now that you know, you need never miss out on grabbing your favourite book from Amazon, no matter which side of the pond you shop on.

For the next segment, a little information will help you to understand how the book links are created. All that you need to comprehend is that sites such as Amazon work with databases. Your book is just a number. Amazon calls their numbers, the ASIN, and it is not an ISBN number by the way. When you publish, your product automatically receives a number to give it a unique entry in the vast database.

This number is not a big secret, and you can find it under the ‘Product Details’ on the book’s sales page. Just scroll down until you spot the ‘ASIN: B + rest of the number’. That is the particular product’s database number. This is how the URL is generated. The links all start with www.Amazon.com/.co.uk/.etc. It is followed by a ‘dp/’ and the ASIN. That is all that is needed for the link to work. Now look at my own link again so you can see the pattern described.

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Amazon.com/ + dp/ + B00M9LE1Z8

It is very easy to grasp once you see it broken down. Never share other links as they are confusing and prone to failing once posted. This brings me to the last portion of this tutorial. Why are there so many weird looking links to products on Amazon?

There is a layman’s explanation for this and it should suffice for most people. I am sure that by now, you have caught me prattling on about metatags. Okay, there is no need to panic! Since the site is database driven, every hit is actually a query to the server, and accordingly, it spits out the page you finally see. When you run a search, the information is passed onto the next page as keywords via those extra bits tacked onto the URL. Look at this horrendous one that takes you right back to the same page as my above example.

http://www.amazon.com/Aeonosphere-Scandari-Saga-Jo-Roderick/dp/0987011758/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Eeek! Yikes! My Aeonosphere! See how the server has returned a match for my book by listing the name of the book, the author, some numbers, a ‘ref’ and it even tells us ‘UTF8’ which is just how characters are encoded. If you start bouncing around from page to page, it may grow even longer. Your temporary history is passed on, and Amazon is keeping notes. It’s not a bad thing and it assists with your browsing. You passport number is not on display so relax.

The point is that we do not need all that confusing information to share a link to a product on Amazon. A little pruning is required so we can all share links efficiently. Look at this next search for example. All I did was search for myself with the keyword ‘book’.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Jo+Rodrigues%2Bbook&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3AJo+Rodrigues%2Bbook

If I click on the author’s name on the book, the resulting link is this … 

http://www.amazon.com/Jo-Rodrigues/e/B00HWFVMXK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1435769290&sr=1-1

… but I only need this … 

www.amazon.com/Jo-Rodrigues/e/B00HWFVMXK/ 

Author profiles follow a very similar procedure to the database ASIN links above. I hope you have found this useful, and that you will share these tips with your colleagues still battling to download books when they see, “Kindle titles for your country are not available …. Please shop for Kindle titles at ….” They are available, just change the domain extension and you are set to give your credit card a good workout.

Do not send me your credit card bills.

 

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