Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Linking to eBooks

I have had a page on my website linking to my Kindle books for a long time. Recently, because a couple of my friends have Nooks (and because the MZB Literary Works Trust is putting Nook eBooks up through PubIt), I've added a Nook page.

My first lesson in web design was from a teacher writing on the whiteboard. She started with the <HTML> and </HTML> tags and worked inward from there: <HEAD>, </HEAD>, <TITLE>, </TITLE>, <BODY>, </BODY>, etc. We were expected to be able to hand code a web page from scratch, and I still use Notepad as my editor. (I can use Dreamweaver if I have to—my convent uses it—but I prefer to write the code myself, so that I know what's in it.)

Amazon.com's links to a book, either Kindle or dead-tree edition, are short and simple. The format is http://www.amazon.com/dp/ISBN or ASIN. All I have to know is the ISBN (book) or ASIN (Kindle eBook), and I'm all set. I have a spreadsheet with all our eBook numbers, Kindle, Fictionwise, and Nook. Unfortunately, it's not much help for Nook hyperlinks.

Barnes & Noble uses a long string that includes the author and title—and if there was a typo when the eBook was first added, you're stuck with it. Consider the following: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-rhumba-of-rattlesnakes-elisabethq-waters/1111828527. I admit that I have been known to misspell my own name, but what happened here is that my finger hit the "q" as well as the Tab key as I went from the "first name" to "last name" field. I have since corrected it so that on the page my first name is not Elisabethq, but the URL is forever. It's certainly obvious that this is my story "A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes," but wouldn't "http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1111828527" identify it just as clearly? The Kindle version of this, where the story is in the book Past Future Present 2011, is "http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006JPWHJW."

And for real fun, compare the links for SWORD & SORCERESS 23:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00328HHJE and
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marion-zimmer-bradleys-sword-and-sorceress-xxiii-elisabeth-waters/1100242465?ean=2940043313041.

My next project is going to be the Nook page for www.mzbworks.com. I'm not looking forward to it; it's going to take days—if not weeks—and there are plenty of other things I should be doing. All at the same time.

So, if you were coding a website, which set of links would you rather use?

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