I've seen links to Amazon, ISFDB, Wikipedia, author's websites and publisher's websites. Is there a community preference or convention for linking to books?

3 Answers 3


I recommend linking to Wikipedia if there's an article, since all the useful information tends to be there: basic bibliographic details, plot summaries, cultural relevance, link to the author's biography, links to vendors, …

For written SF (excluding comics) in English, just about any book or story is referenced in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). ISFDB has detailed bibliographic information and links to Wikipedia when they exist. I recommend using ISFDB when there is no Wikipedia article or when discussion publications (especially for short stories).

If the author has a web site, that's a good alternative to ISFDB.

If there's no ISFDB entry (for example because it's a comic book), you can link to Wikipedia's book source facility: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/0123456789.

Some people link to Amazon, which is automatically turned into a Stack Exchange, Inc. affiliate link. I don't like to favor any particular vendor, so I won't do it and encourage others not to.

  • 2
    One advantage that Amazon has is that you can "search inside" many books. This generally means that you can read any quoted material in context, without having to own a copy of the book. (This is the only reason that I use Amazon links here).
    – Tony Meyer
    Mar 10, 2011 at 22:14
  • @Tony: That's a good point. Is Amazon the best for searches in SF books? I've never tried Google Books for recent, non-technical books.
    – user56
    Mar 10, 2011 at 22:21
  • I honestly don't know. The Google Books in-book searching is more limited than Amazon in my experience (although you can link to a page with the quote, which beats Amazon). The B&N version requires Flash, which I don't have installed, so I've never tried it. I don't know if anyone else offers this functionality with a large library.
    – Tony Meyer
    Mar 13, 2011 at 4:09

I like to use LibraryThing, because it lists all editions of a book, not just the currently-available one (like on Amazon). It includes reviews and descriptions like Wikipedia, though sometimes they're harder to find. It's also not trying to sell you anything, which I think is a point in its favor.

  • Bibliography-wise, how complete is LibraryThing, compared with ISFDB (within ISFDB's scope, of course)? LibraryThing is selling something, just not books (they charge you for filling their database!).
    – user56
    Mar 13, 2011 at 15:55
  • @Gilles, a basic account is free. The limitation is that a free account's library can contain only up to 200 books. As far as bibliography, there are fields for pretty much everything you could possibly think of, plus some more. Whether they're already filled out for a particular book/work is a different matter.
    – Martha
    Mar 13, 2011 at 16:23
  • Sorry this hasnt anything to do with your answer Martha i just wanted to say thank you for defending me during my exile, i dont know how to chat so this is the best i cand do May 29, 2014 at 1:30

I think it would depend on the context. If you're linking to information contained in the book, Wikipedia frequently has that information. If someone is looking for an answer to story identification, Amazon would be appropriate, as they'd probably want to purchase it.

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