… by linking to a neutral intermediary, such as OpenLibrary or GoodReads, rather than a bookseller.

I often write about books. Something to do with enjoying reading!


Some readers might have noticed that when I link to a book, I almost always the link to OpenLibrary.

While reading many blogs I found most people linked to one particular very well-known US-based international on-line bookseller. In doing this they were effectively promoting that company over alternatives, driving potential clients to them.

It struck me as conflicting with the notion of not promoting particular companies when writing neutrally.

A number of sites present books, but don’t themselves sell them. They may list among descriptive information different places that they might be purchased.

Linking to an neutral intermediary such as these solves the problem of you promoting one company over another.

One drawback with OpenLibrary is that relatively few of the entries have a description of the contents of the book, and there are few reviews.

The OpenLibrary blog indicates that they are soon to open a full-text ‘search inside’ feature.


An alternative option, that I might make more use of in the future, is GoodReads, a website of user reviews and opinions.

Another neutral(-ish) source to link to would be Google Books.

Other possibilities might include the book websites listed at wikipedia.

There are a few too many there for me to review them all. If readers have their favourite neutral sources of information about books, let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear your opinions.

Other articles in Code for life:

Fainting kittens — feline myotonia congenita? (Must-see video!)

The best places to read (Glorious libraries)

Science-y reading and open book thread (Where you find your reading and book ideas)

Dictionaries, the OED, and what do you use? (The title says it all)

GoPubMed – PubMed browsing using ontologies (Find those papers, assisted by ontologies)