Different publications may be “linked” on Amazon


Amazon web store is a sophisticated tool helping us buy what we want (or suggest to us what we may want).  Here is one such Amazon practice that is intended to help people navigate their store but which may sometimes lead to the wrong results in your purchasing decisions.

Amazon has noticed that there are a number of various publications for the same title.  For example, a book can be in hard cover, paperback, and Kindle versions.  As a result, they have come up with a mostly useful tactic of linking all these individual versions of the same title, so you could easily find the book and then select which version of it you want.  In addition, it usually helps to aggregate the reviews for hard covers and paperbacks because the content is the same.  For small publishers such as OSNOVA, Amazon decides on what publications to link (big publishers may or may not make their own decisions/suggestions).  I do not know the criteria that go into Amazon’s decision what and how to link but I’ve noticed that similarity in the title and the cover may play a role.

For example, I have recently noticed that three different OSNOVA publications were linked: NHEB Bible, Young’s Literal Translation, and KJV with Apocrypha.  This linking means that all three have the same reviews.  What’s more when you search for a specific book and your search terms are not specific enough, Amazon can show you only one of the linked books ignoring the others (to test search for “osnova bible” and you will see only some but not all OSNOVA Bible publications).  I am in discussions with Amazon’s support to delink all three to avoid confusion.  So far, they have delinked two of the three but the reviews are still linked.

There is more, when you have public domain books (as are most of the OSNOVA publications), Amazon may link completely different publications together even from different publishers (although I have not yet noticed that OSNOVA publications were linked to non-OSNOVA publications but it can happen).  So, you may see many good reviews for a book that is not worth those reviews only because it is “linked” to a book from a different publisher.  The only way to avoid the “mistake in identity” is to carefully read the review to see to which book it applies (it gives a link at the top of each review).

My family shop on Amazon a lot.  Usually, this “linking” is a great thing (for example, I may not care who sells the battery for my camcorder as long as it is cheaper) but with Kindle books even the same titles are not interchangeable.

So, Caveat emptor (buyer beware)!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Different publications may be “linked” on Amazon

  1. Anne

    I noticed this on Amazon when I was looking at either Foxe’s Book of Martyrs or a Matthew Henry’s Commentary (neither of which were OSNOVA). An abridged Kindle book version had somehow gotten linked to a different, complete, publication. Several of the reviewers were quite vocal in their displeasure to find out that they hadn’t gotten what they thought they were buying.

    • That’s what I am worried about — negative reviews. I’ve been able to convince Amazon to delink some of the OSNOVA books but the reviews are still shared for some of them. I don’t fault Amazon’s support, they do a great job most of the time.

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