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I've just edited an answer, where a link to Amazon was provided and linked to the publisher's page for this particular book, see https://matheducators.stackexchange.com/posts/1292/revisions.

To which page should we refer when we mention a book?

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    $\begingroup$ A related discussion Linking to research $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Apr 4, 2014 at 10:38
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    $\begingroup$ Might be relevant: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/26964/… $\endgroup$ Apr 4, 2014 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AndrásBátkai Thanks! Okay, then it isn't too bad for the community if there are Amazon links. $\endgroup$ Apr 4, 2014 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ The following is a bit orthogonal to the qustion asked but the conext motivates me to stress the follwing: what in my opinion is most important is to always include enough information in ones postings that it is possible to find out which book is meant purely from the information on the site, without following the link / without the link working. If one has this information, typically one does not really need a link, though it can be convenient. And, this applies to most any link posted: if at all possible, please, include a description of what is linked to. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Apr 4, 2014 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ Somewhat related discussion at meta.MO: Is it morally all right to link to a particular bookseller? $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    Apr 25, 2014 at 5:58

2 Answers 2

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I personally think that links to either Google Books or Amazon.com are the way to go, with Google Books being preferred if a large portion of the book is available for viewing, and links to Amazon.com preferred otherwise.

Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. Both of these sites really have a lot of data available about the book, including publication information, user reviews, sales information, and so forth. Publisher's websites typically do not offer this information.

  2. Both of these sites sometimes allow users to look inside the book. It can often be helpful to simply be able to view the table of contents. For some books, these sites even allow you to search inside.

I don't think that it's a problem that these are both commercial sites, or that Amazon.com's goal is to actually sell you the book.

One note: When posting links to these sites, I recommend truncating the link to the minimum possible URL. Presumably such links will be more stable over time than links with additional form data. For example, here's a nice short URL linking to an Amazon.com page:

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Dimensional-Geometry-Topology-Vol-1/dp/0691083045

and here's a nice short URL linking to a Google Books page:

http://books.google.com/books?id=9kkuP3lsEFQC

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    $\begingroup$ I think that sometimes it is useful to link to specific page in a book, for example like this: books.google.com/books?id=9kkuP3lsEFQC&pg=PA101 (If the post refers to some specific part of the text.) In fact, when I saw that you wrote "URL linking to a Google Books page", I thought that you mean this kind of link (because of the word page). $\endgroup$
    – Martin
    Apr 4, 2014 at 19:30
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I personally don't like to provide links here to some commercial (non-original publisher) sites.

I would suggest the following priority:

  1. If available, provide a link to Wikipedia.

  2. If available (and most of the books is there), provide a link to Google Books

  3. If available, provide a link to the original publisher.

  4. If nothing of the above is available, then provide a link to Amazon or similar (A link is always better than nothing).

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