Over the years I have linked to many books from this blog, usually to an Amazon page with an affilliate link. In the early days (2003-2004) of such affilliate links I made 70 USD at one time, and then nothing. Over time linking to Amazon, links that included a tracking pixel for years, became less helpful for readers to find books, and more helpful for Amazon to track readers.

I stopped linking to Amazon last year April, but this blog still held the links I previously made. When I deleted my Amazon affilliate account they gave me a gift card with the outstanding balance: 35 cents. They still got their tracking on the links I used here though, so those links needed to go. Removing such links isn’t much work, but I wanted to maintain the usefulness of my postings, by linking to an author’s homepages, Wikipedia entries, as well as to the publisher’s page, Wikipedia page, Internet Archive or Open Library page for their books. That work does cost time, and is now finished. I no longer link to Amazon on this blog anywhere (nor Amazon’s Goodreads), and no Amazon tracking pixels remain.

I do still buy e-books from Amazon, although that too is ever so slowly shifting to other sources (directly from publishers for instance). It’s just that I no longer send any website visitor’s data their way as well.

21 reactions on “All Links to Amazon Deleted In This Blog

  1. I just counted 144 Amazon links over 22 years of ruk.ca. I’m wondering if I can come up with a regular expression to rewrite them all as links to my local bookshop (as they’re almost all links to books).

    I remember the early days of my blog, when Amazon was considered a miraculous force for good. Or at least, benignly, a bookstore with better selection than the shop around the corner.

    • Indeed, there were times when Amazon was the only way to link to a book that had meaning to most if not all site visitors. These days the internet archive, open library and wikipedia function as a neutral resource that simply wasn’t available for many years. Similarly authors and publishers now have a web presence unlike ‘back then’. The only thing that still doesn’t have much meaning or creates much agency imo is trying to link to a different bookshop, as that specific bookshop probably can’t serve most of my blog readers. On the other hand, the indie bookshop around the corner is likely much less of data hungry kraken (except for G’s analytics) than Amazon is.

  2. Thank you for your all your efforts to maintain these ground a non-tracking heaven but also for sharing a lot of hidden issues in these (less beautiful) internet times that we are going through. In my case, for long I stopped linking the books, given that search engines are so good, I only mention the authors, title and sometimes the publishers, given that translations can end up in different wording. Regarding Amazon, I was such a fan since the beginning, when I was studying in Macao and they where the only way I could get some great material for my education, cause at the time, the only libraries around where in Chinese and I wasn’t proficient to read it. But then, Amazon turn less of a heaven and more of a nightmare of tracking everywhere, everything, something I dislike a lot. Some time ago I decide to do erase my account for good, stopping convenience but returning to rediscovering the serendipity of find books in libraries, in someone post, a citation, a footnote… Recommendations only from people I know and without commercial interests. As for my blog, in order to stop the tracking i should have it removed from the platform where it was created, long before, like Amazon, they where doing amazing things for the Commons.

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