SmartURL vs BookLinker for Amazon Books?

SmartURL vs BookLinkerAs of today, there are 12 Amazon countries selling your books (soon to be more). But are you missing potential sales in some of these nations? Below is a tutorial video for making links that direct customers to the right one. Think of it as a global Amazon link.

Example: Jane Reader visits your site, sees your book, wants to buy it, clicks on the link and visits Amazon.com. That’s great if Jane lives in the USA or an Amazon.com affiliated nation. But what if Jane Reader lives in a foreign country like Germany, India, Brazil, the UK or a host of other nations where people cannot buy directly from Amazon.com?

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Some Jane and John Readers know to visit their local Amazon, but they are savvy shoppers while others are not. How many others will simply leave your book page, wrongly assuming it is not available to them?

Hence the need for a global Amazon link, one that takes Jane and John directly to their proper Amazon countries to buy your book. This will convert more browsers into paying customers, get more international sales and even get more reviews.

There are several outfits for help with this (and for free). BookLinker (formerly ViewBook) and SmartURL are among the most popular, though Georiot is a good choice too. The video below demonstrates step by step how to use them and lists pros and cons of each service.

There are different suffixes for each Amazon nation. For example, here are links for the same book in the US and in Germany:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-ebook/dp/B00LXH4KIW/
http://www.amazon.de/How-Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-ebook/dp/B00LXH4KIW/

Just apply the proper suffix after Amazon, followed by the book name, dp, and ASIN. Delete all the ref stuff that often follows.

United States: US – .com
United Kingdom: GB – .co.uk
France: FR – .fr
Japan: JP – .co.jp
Canada: CA – .ca
Germany: DE – .de
Spain: ES – .es
Italy: IT – .it
India: IN – .in
Mexico: MX – .com.mx
Brazil: BR – .com.br
Australia: AU  – .com.au

The good news is all of these link-builders allow you to use your Amazon Associates Affiliate tags for an extra approx. 5% commission on sales. If you don’t use one, they’ll use theirs which is how they make money. Note that you must apply to each Associate country individually:

US: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
UK: https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/
DE: https://partnernet.amazon.de/
FR: https://partenaires.amazon.fr/
IT: https://programma-affiliazione.amazon.it/
SP: https://afiliados.amazon.es/
CA: https://associates.amazon.ca/
JP: https://affiliate.amazon.co.jp/

Part 2 of this post (see below) explains how to implement these links at your website and within your books. First, watch this step by step video for how to make the links.

Pros and cons:

BookLinker is designed specifically for Amazon, is fast and has a slightly better custom URL upon creation. But it only works with product (book) pages and author pages, while it does not work with review pages. Currently BookLinker only shows 9 flags; newcomers India, Mexico and Australia’s flags aren’t visible. Not to worry, an email to the admin confirmed those countries will work. “We are currently in the process of updating the ‘My Links’ page of our website to display statistics from some of the newer Amazon’s – and you can expect this feature to be available within the next few weeks.”

SmartURL works with all Amazon pages including reviews, which is wise to do in my opinion. But it takes a bit longer to use and you have to reinsert affiliate tags for every single product instead of just once.

Ultimately, both of these are great. BookLinker is nice because it is designed to be used only with Amazon, but since SmartURL also works with reviews pages, if I had to choose only one–that factor would cause me to go with it. For now, I’m using both with a memo to BookLinker Admin to add Amazon review pages to their platform.

Part 2 of this post teaches how to implement these links at your website, in your document and upload to Amazon.

Do you have a preference or additional thoughts about all this? Please share in the comments.


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63 Responses to “SmartURL vs BookLinker for Amazon Books?”

  1. KristinaLudwig Says:

    Wow, good tips Jason! I didn’t even realize these linking mechanisms existed. Thanks for the info!

  2. Tima Maria Lacoba Says:

    My stars, at this rate I’ll never get dementia! Thanks for all this great info, Jason. It feels like I’m constantly learning something new since publishing my novel.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Smart attitude, Tima. The learning requirements are definitely never ending!

      • Tima Maria Lacoba Says:

        I watched your 2nd video and I don’t think I could do any of it on my own. I simply don’t have to techno skill. Sorry, Jason, but it’s so complicated for me, I could cry!

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          No crying allow–just kidding. Believe me, I have been there and done that. Which part looks too confusing? Maybe I can help?

        • Tima Maria Lacoba Says:

          That’s really kind of you. Where do I begin? Okay, firstly, if I use booklinker where do I put the new universal URL that’s been created? Will it link automatically into my Amazon page? I live in Australia.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          It should work fine. You can insert it on any Amazon link that you have in your websites, blogs, text within your book, etc. You can also ask folks from other countries (like me) to test them to see if it works properly by directing us to the Amazon within our own nations. Takes just a click of our time 🙂

        • Tima Maria Lacoba Says:

          I did it! I’ve already had many clicks from the US, UK, France, Germany and even Japan. Now that I’ve worked that out, – and once Amazon Australia has the affiliate program up and running – I’ll follow your directions to get them on there. Thanks so much, Jason. 😀

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          Haha–good on you!!! That’s a big accomplishment. Feels great, doesn’t it?

        • timamarialacoba Says:

          That’s for sure! Small steps…

  3. How to Increase Amazon Global Book Sales | The Business of Being an Author Says:

    […] Part 1: 2 free options to create your Amazon global links. […]

  4. Jeff Bilman Says:

    Great post Jason, Thanks very much.

  5. Mark Roberts Says:

    My vote definitely goes to BookLinker. Much easier, much quicker, and much better links!

  6. Joseph Forte Says:

    Jason, thanks for the quality post. I just have a quick question as I am not totally sure I understand how this works. I have set my default URL as amazon.com as I am from Canada. Now, if someone from Australia searches my book and it shows up on Amazon.com and they are interested in buying it and they click on it, should they not be kicked over to .com.au, the Australian site? I had a friend of mine in Australia go to .com, search for my book click on it but they never sent her to .com.au.

    Am I way off?

    Thanks.

    Joseph Forte
    At the Window

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Hey Joe. Great question and I also asked the same thing. If you use BookLinker or SmartURL as they are designed, then yes, no matter which country someone is in and no matter which country your Amazon default country is, the browsers from all over the world should be redirected to their proper locale. I had testers use my BookLinker Amazon.com link from England, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Italy, India and Canada–in each case it worked perfectly and sent people to their local Amazon from the same link: http://mybook.to/sellEbooks.

      • Joseph Forte Says:

        Interesting…..okay, because for some reason I guess it didn’t work. My friend in Australia said it stayed on .com…..unless of course she didn’t notice the .com.au at the end. I better email her back and see if it says .au because that can easily be missed. I will see who else I can contact and ask. Thanks again….great idea overall!

        Joseph Forte
        At the Window

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          Maybe, that’s why it’s a good idea to check with more than one friend in different countries if possible. If you still have an issue let me know and we’ll figure it out.

  7. Cole Lakes Says:

    I saw this article and thought I’d throw in my two cents as well. 🙂

    We have a similar service that not only “globalizes” links for any Amazon products (including Kindle books, physical books, and author pages), but also anything in Apple’s realm (iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store). We’ve tried to make the process of building of a global link as easy as possible and we add intelligence to the link to make sure your users get the best experience possible.

    Additionally, we fully support the Amazon Associates and iTunes Affiliate Programs, which allows you to earn commissions from sending users to Amazon to buy your book (and anything else they purchase during that session).

    We also have some pretty awesome and detailed reporting that’s available for the data nerds out there. Oh – and we’re free.

    If you’re interested, http://www.georiot.com is our site and I can answer any other questions you have as well.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Cole, thank you for adding this. Georiot is also a great service and probably should have been included in this study. I have a question for you. There is confusion whether an author is allowed to include her/his own book links, as in Other Books By…, with affiliate tags inside her/his own Kindle book. It seems ridiculous to me, but have you ever heard of that being a problem?

      • Cole Lakes Says:

        Jason, my pleasure, and thanks for the compliment!

        As for adding affiliate parameters within their own Kindle Book, we’ve also heard rumors that this is frowned upon within the Amazon Associates program, but haven’t confirmed specifically yet. The language in their agreement states:

        Qualifying Purchases exclude, and we will not pay advertising fees on any of, the following:

        any Product that, after expiration of the applicable Session, is added to a customer’s Shopping Cart, is purchased by a customer via our 1-Click feature, or is streamed or downloaded by a customer, even if the customer previously followed a Special Link from your site to the Amazon Site;
        any Product purchase that is not correctly tracked or reported because the links from your site to the Amazon Site are not properly formatted;
        any Product purchased through a Special Link in a Mobile Application that was not an Approved Mobile Application or where the Special Link in an Approved Mobile Application was not served by the AMA API;
        any Product purchased through a Special Link by you or on your behalf, including Products you purchase through Special Links for yourself, friends, relatives, or associates (e.g., personal orders, orders for your own use, and orders placed by you for or on behalf of any other person or entity);
        any Product purchased for resale or commercial use of any kind;
        any Product purchased after termination of this Operating Agreement;
        any Product order that is canceled or returned; and
        any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to the Amazon Site through any of the following:
        a Prohibited Paid Search Placement; or
        a link to the Amazon Site, including a Redirecting Link, that is generated or displayed on a Search Engine in response to a general Internet search query or keyword (i.e., in natural, free, organic, or unpaid search results), whether those links appear through your submission of data to that site or otherwise.

        It doesn’t mention referring your own products, so technically I believe it’s in the clear, but I can’t confirm one way or the other just yet. We’re currently looking further into it, but I do know that this isn’t an issue in the Apple iBooks realm.

        Does that help, or does it just offer up more questions than answers? 🙂

  8. Sell More Kindle Books with Better Links | Linda Cassidy Lewis Says:

    […] services where you can create these links: BookLinker and SmartURL. I learned about these through this blog post by Jason Matthews, which includes step-by-step videos to show you how it’s done. I used […]

  9. Linda Cassidy Lewis Says:

    Thank you for this sharing this info and excellent videos. I don’t remember how I found this post, but I’m glad I did.

  10. Corinne O'Flynn (@CorinneOFlynn) Says:

    Very informative, Jason. Thank you for these videos. I couldn’t get my head around the different country feature, and now it makes perfect sense.

  11. marchornwriter Says:

    Jason, I just opened one of my Booklinker links and they have added an Amazon advert prior to landing on the page requested. You have to interact with this advert before you can get to the book page. I think this makes Booklinker considerably less appealing. Tried to contact them about it, but their contact page wouldn’t open. Do you have the same issue? I checked a couple of links on two different books, and both took me to this advert.

  12. marchornwriter Says:

    I clicked the contact page, but nothing happened. I’ll send them an email. Thanks for the address. Looks like I’ll be moving to the other one!

    • marchornwriter Says:

      This is the reply I received:

      Amazon have banned URL-shorteners from using their associates program, so
      we have had to sanction the ads moving forward.

      They are charging a monthly fee to go ad-free.

      • Jason Matthews Says:

        I’m going to have to send KDP an email too. This is upsetting because in the recent past I asked them about using these links in my own books (for other books of mine) and they said that was fine, as long as the link-shorteners weren’t going to other products.

        • Linda Cassidy Lewis Says:

          Please let us know what you find out, Jason, because right now I’m wondering if it’s worth changing all my links to SmartURL links. If the Amazon policy has indeed changed, then SmartURL will surely change their “free” policy too.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          Linda, at this point I’m not making any changes to my Booklinker links. Yes, they now lead to a small Amazon ad asking if you’d like a free audiobook but can easily click past and result at my Amazon book. As long as Amazon doesn’t notify me that there’s a problem I don’t see that as a large enough issue to make the change, plus who knows if SmartURL may also make changes in the near future. Ah technology! It’s not much different that waiting on a YouTube video to load while having to deal with a brief ad first.

        • Linda Cassidy Lewis Says:

          Well, right now the ad says “Dear Reader, Want a free audiobook?” which could be interpreted as an offer for the audio version of MY book. If that reader clicks NO on that ad, they’re taken directly to my book’s Amazon page. But if they click YES, they’re taken to a different site and can only get to my book’s Amazon page by going back and clicking NO on the ad.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          That’s true and a good point. I wonder how many people will click that free audio link? Since it says, Sign Up for Your 30 Day Free Trial, my guess is the people who click that link will only do it once. Personally, I’m not going to rush to make any changes to existing BookLinker links since I believe most people will decline the offer and anyone who really wanted to read one of my books would still find it, but if I were creating a new link I would make it with SmartURL.

        • Linda Cassidy Lewis Says:

          Unfortunately, if the Amazon policy change cited in the BookLinker email is valid, I’d expect SmartURL to change the way their free links work too.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          You may be right, who knows. It’s one of my frustrations with this business and why I typically update my book every 3 to 6 months, because so many little changes happen like this. After 6 months, I usually have a dozen items that need changing.

        • marchornwriter Says:

          They’ve reversed it! Yay! Power to the people and a great service again!

          This is just a quick email to let you know that we at BookLinker have reversed our decision to use advertising as a means to fund our service.

          This means that all BookLinker links are now completely back to the way they were a few days ago – i.e. no advertising whatsoever.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          Isn’t that amazing!? I second that “yay” of yours 🙂

        • marchornwriter Says:

          That was my thinking too, Jason. Although Book linker offered me an ad-free option for £10 per month. Seems a little steep to me.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          £10 per month is extortion for what they’re offering. I might pay that much if it was a one-time payment but not recurring, not even annually.

        • marchornwriter Says:

          I feel the same way.

  13. Paul J. Newell Says:

    When I got the email from booklinker about the ads, I thought ‘hold on, why am I relying on a third-party for this?’ As a bit of a geek I knocked up a solution on my own website so that I can always be in control of it. I’m thinking of how I could distribute the solution. A demo is currently up and running. No need to generate links, just use them in the following format (for the product or review page), replacing the number with the number for your product (book):
    http://apn.to/prod/0955224527
    http://apn.to/rev/0955224527
    My point being that if folks have their own webpage they can do this themselves and not need to rely on me or booklinker or anyone else.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Wow, that’s very cool, Paul! I just checked one of my titles with your system and it worked. I assume it will work for people in other Amazon nations, that the link delivers the user to your book in France or Germany for examples? Have you tested that?

      • Paul J. Newell Says:

        Well, my testing is limited by the number of people I know in exotic places 😉 Feel free to send your link to some people abroad. I’m not sure whether to leave it up an offer it as a service – just cos of all the responsibility. I’ll have to think about it. But I guess for folks without tech know-how it’s hard to implement themselves.

    • Cole Lakes Says:

      Hey Paul,

      It’s awesome you were able to whip something up like that! Hopefully it helps others as well.

      However, I’d like to present the other side of the story (coming from a 3rd party, hosted, link management service) as there are quite a few things to consider if you do decide to build / host your own solution:

      1. Internationalization – When building global links it is important to know that ASINs for books are often different per country, so simply replacing the “.com” in Amazon.com with “.co.uk” won’t always work. Here are a couple examples I quickly found where that approach simply doesn’t work.

      Books:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Small-Change-Diet-Healthier/dp/B0058M64GO
      http://www.amazon.com/Road-Civil-Brian-Michael-Bendis/dp/B005MWJWYQ/

      Ebooks:
      http://www.amazon.com/The-Silkworm-Cormoran-Strike-Book-ebook/dp/B00IJJUIOM/
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Fine-Middle-Night-ebook/dp/B0051H5EUI

      If you do create a solution, you’ll need to be able to seamlessly find the same item in an international storefront. This improves conversion rates and keeps international fans happy.

      2. Reporting – Being able to know things like how many times your links were clicked, where in the world they were clicked from, how much each link is making you in sales, and being able to compare links to each other is important for marketing and selling your books. Without having a robust reporting solution, it’s near impossible to find out that information.

      3. Uptime – Depending on how you implement the service, your users will get upset any time the solution doesn’t work, or isn’t running. Making sure it works well, all of the time, is important or you are losing out on sales (and clients if they don’t stay happy).

      4. Speed – How quickly do your links resolve? If it takes a long time to get the readers into Amazon, chances are they’ll click away before they can actually see the page or buying the product.

      5. Link Management – If you’re using a URL shortener of any sort, or are putting these links out “in the wild,” what happens if something changes? For instance, you put a bunch of Tweets, Facebook posts, email campaigns, and links on your website using a single link. Then you find out that link is incorrect, or need to change it to another destination. Without having some way to update your links, that becomes an impossible process. A good 3rd party link management service will allow you to edit your links from their dashboard so that your tweets, posts, and email campaigns are always accurate.

      6. Vanity URLs – A big reason people use link shorteners is for the “vanity” piece of it (like http://geni.us/MyBookRocks). Without the ability to change the URL to suit what you’re marketing, the link isn’t as “pretty” or useful for a lot of authors.

      7. Affiliate parameter management – A lot of authors are also part of the Amazon and/or iTunes Affiliate Programs so they can earn money back for any purchases users make after clicking their links (including your own books). Being able to add the country-specific affiliate parameters to the end of a country-specific link is necessary for earning those commissions.

      8. Support – Any time something doesn’t work perfectly (and as a fellow geek, you know thats a minimal amount of time :)), you’ll have to support it and fix it. That’s additional time, and sometimes money, that you’ll need to spend on the project and not doing what you are best at.

      Anyway, sorry for the novel, but those are some of the things we’ve noticed when working with authors. I hope that helps you (and anyone else), and I’d be happy to give more details if needed.

  14. susanpbaker Says:

    Reblogged this on Susan P. Baker's Blog & Website and commented:
    In 2015, lets be proactive in the marketing of our books regardless of how many books we have or how long it takes us to learn new skills. This guy has done the hard work for us.

  15. JP McLean Says:

    I know I’m super late to this post, but thank you so much. It’s been very helpful. I’ve just dipped my toe into the research waters for global links, and I’m curious how Booklinker makes money? In particular, I was comparing it to GeoRiot, who takes a “click” percentage.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Good to know it worked from Canada, JP! Booklinker allows people to use affiliate tags on their books, but when they don’t use one Booklinker does and makes some money from those commissions. I’m not sure how much they make from that though. They tried adding ads briefly, but authors were going to discontinue using them and they dropped that idea really fast.

      • JP McLean Says:

        Thanks for the info. That’s good to know. I think I’ll end up following your lead, Booklinker for books and author page, and smarturl for reviews. Great information here. Thanks for putting it together.

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          My pleasure, JP. Your feedback is appreciated 🙂

        • JP McLean Says:

          I was rejected from my Amazon Associates application to Spain. Not sure why. Could be the graphics I’m using for my link to Amazon. Do you have a source you’d like to share for your Amazon buy button-style link? The only other one I can find is an Amazon.com link and I’m in Canada…

        • Jason Matthews Says:

          That’s too bad, JP. I wonder why they didn’t follow up with a reason. I’ve usually used Amazon icons from web searches. It might be against their terms but seeing how the link goes to an Amazon product, my guess is the worst that would happen is they’d ask me to make a change. I use an icon and a global Amazon link and resist using ones to specific nations like these: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/help/t6/a9.

        • JP McLean Says:

          Their rejection notice just quoted the standard Amazon agreement language, it didn’t point to anything specific. I’m just guessing about the icon. I have to change out the icon anyway to make way for the global link, and if that doesn’t fix the issue, I’ll send them an inquiry. Thanks for your feedback, Jason. I appreciate it.


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