Whenever someone discusses a book on a blog or a website, they always link to the book’s Amazon page. In this blog post, I’m going to try to convince bloggers to link to WorldCat instead.
For those of you who don’t know, WorldCat is an online tool that uses geolocation to determine whether a book is available from a local library. It’s a really cool service, and it’s one that I have personally used many times. If you would like to try WorldCat, here is a link to the WorldCat page for the book Trioedd Ynys Prydein: The Triads of the Island of Britain, which will tell you which library that contains this book is closest to you.
In most of the blogs that I read, whenever the blogger talks about a book that they have read recently, they link to the book’s amazon page and encourage their readers to buy the book. This is bad because it perpetuates the notion that in order to access scholarly material, readers must pay exorbitant amounts of money to immoral conglomerates. It’s ridiculous that people buy books that they may only read once when they could borrow the book from a local public library for free. In the USA, libraries are struggling under the burdens of budget cuts. Reminding readers of the fact that public libraries exist, and that they can obtain a book for free that they otherwise would have had to pay for, will also remind readers of just how important public libraries are as a resource.
In addition, linking to WorldCat better serves the readers of blogs than linking to Amazon. As a frequent reader of blogs, if I were to buy every book recommended by the blogs that I read, I would be bankrupt. However, I will frequently check whether the book discussed is available from a local library, and if it is, there is a very good chance that I will read it. By linking to WorldCat, writers of blogs make it much more likely that their readers will actually read the book that they discuss.
I understand that linking to Amazon allows bloggers to earn revenue from affiliate programs. If you need to earn money to pay for hosting fees, or if you are blogging as a livelihood, then by all means use Amazon affiliate links. But if you aren’t blogging to earn money, then I would strongly encourage you to use WorldCat instead, both for moral reasons and to better serve your readers.