Why I Don’t Link My Posts to Amazon.com
Cause Amazon doesn’t need the help.
I mean, it’s a personal choice we all wrestle with, yes? If you’re a children’s literary blogger it’s the simplest thing in the world to link a book to its Amazon page without thinking twice about it. Amazon is big and convenient. The titles you talk about are always there. Sometimes you’ll get an SLJ or Booklist review as well.
You could probably say that I’m a bit of a two-faced so-and-so since all my reviews are copied onto Amazon once they’ve been published. True enough. I also happen to love the Amazon blog Omnivoracious (and Paul, evidently, loves my Fusenews too). And interestingly enough I don’t have problems with bloggers that participate in that system where if you purchase the book through Amazon through the blog the blogger gets money for it. I feel that if you’re linking to Amazon for a reason (i.e. monetary gain) that’s fine. It’s linking to Amazon for the convenience that perhaps we should examine more closely.
The children’s literary bloggers and the independent bookstore bloggers haven’t come together in significant ways quite yet. Much of that may have to do with the fact that more children’s literary bloggers are librarians than booksellers. Still and all, it would be nice if every time a person wrote a review they linked it in some way to an independent store that needed the cash.
With that in mind, I once tried to support my local children’s bookstores here in NYC. There are only two in New York as it stands, however. You’ve got your Bank Street Bookstore on the one hand and your Books of Wonder on the other. But my attempts to link the books I was reviewing to these stores’ online catalogs often fails miserably. The whole reason we bloggers link to Amazon nine times out of ten is because of the user friendly nature of the site. You plug in the name, instantly a record appears, and on you go. Bank Street Bookstore does allow you to search their site for books, but since I review a lot of titles before their publication date, BSB doesn’t always have the titles there ready and waiting for me to link to them. Pity. As for Books of Wonder, I have linked to them in the past only to find the record disappear after a while. I can’t link to a site if the link disappears on me! The solution eventually turned out to be the Powell’s Bookstore. They’re big. They’re independent. They’re beautiful. They have a magnificent blog. And when I want a title they always have it somewhere. Almost always.
Another option is WorldCat. If you want to link to a book’s record without the ickyness of promotion and money changing hands, WorldCat is a dream come true. Not only will it provide you with your book’s record but it will also offer to tell you what library systems near you currently house that book in their collection.
Actually, I try to opt out of all these options when linking my titles. Nine times out of ten I prefer to link to the publishers’ webpages that are dedicated to the book. If you do that then you have a way of linking to a site that is actively interested in collecting information about the title. I see no problem with linking to the people who have created the lovely little thing anyway. And within the reviews I often link to titles on the Goodreads website. That’s not out of any moral higgelty piggelty, though. I’m just too lazy to change the links after I post the reviews on their site.
It’ll be interesting to see if children’s and YA bloggers start to change their linking habits in the future. Some bloggers have already done so and are particularly creative. 100 Scope Notes, for example, always makes a point to link reviews to Schuler Books and Music, which touts itself as "five of the nation’s largest independent bookstores." Kids Lit, on the other hand, prefers to go the WorldCat route.
So fess up, cuties. Who else do you link to and why? What have I forgotten?
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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