Talk:Amazon Standard Identification Number

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ISBN vs ASIN in Wikipedia[edit]

I noticed someone recently added an ASIN to one of the pages I watch. I removed it on article-specific grounds unrelated to its Amazon-ness, but would it really be appropriate to use a corporate cataloging system like this on Wikipedia at all? -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 08:02, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It seems like it would be useful in trying to locate the reference cited, and the fact that Amazon might make money from it seems inadequate to exclude it. - Nunh-huh 08:07, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, I suppose I should flesh my concerns out a bit. (a) Since ASIN=ISBN for all books, it's silly to call the number "ASIN" wherever it's a book, since "ISBN" is useful across multiple sites. I don't know what the cataloging situation is for other media; I might consider ASIN if there's no alternative. (b) While I doubt it's illegal or anything, it seems contrary to the spirit of wikis in general and Wikipedia in particular, to send use a system that only works for one particular corporation. It's like assuming that everyonen has Microsoft Word--by and large they do, but it's still not a very open platform. -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 08:16, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)
With (a) I agree: there are however items which have no ISBN but do have an ASIN: these are the times for which ASIN might be useful. (b) saying "here's the only place we know that provides this" doesn't mean "you must buy from them" - Nunh-huh
Exclusivity alone is grounds for concern; the economic factor is separate. -- कुक्कुरोवाच|Talk‽ 09:38, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

My two cents: I agree that it's inappropriate to use ASIN when ISBN will suffice. I also agree with Nunh-huh that it's acceptable to use Amazon's system for those rare books (and non-book items) that lack ISBNs. However, listing only the ASIN is generally unacceptable. If it's a truly hard-to-find item, then add a normal external link to Amazon. ASINs are only useful for locating Amazon products; it is pretentious to push it as a standard outside of the company. • Benc • 04:00, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Unless its changed recently, the ASIN is the book's ISBN number. Amazon essentially took the ISBN system, used it for their first products (Books), and then extended the system to cover other goods (CDs, videos, electronics, etc.). So when you see an 'ASIN' for a book, it is that book's ISBN. --Zippy 15:10, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've been purging ASIN codes in favour of ISBNs in reference sections. A surprising number of "normal" ones seem to resolve as ISBNs for different books - not sure if this is simple error or something weird with ASINs... Shimgray 17:36, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

i just posted a request for a ASIN citation reference

the reason for this is that , like the original author above......i am writing about an ethnic subject in a developing nation , probably the same, india

there are many perfectly adequate books published but they are not all ISBN because it is not convention or they are quite old

i support the use of ASIN number in such cases , we should not place too high a step to exclude valid works from developing nations Green108 12:12, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Discussion moved from Village pump[edit]

Hi, I'm new on this page but have been hanging about on Wikipedia for some time.

Anyway, recently I noticed that on some articles, links to related literature at Amazon have been provided. While I don't wish to debate the pros and cons of this particular retailer, I'd like to point out that it seems some contributors have been adding their own affiliate IDs to these links. I'm not too familiar with the format of Amazon links but I've been removing these IDs when I come across them as I don't see this as a legitimate method for individuals to profit from Wikipedia. Depending on context I've inserted the Wiki ISBN link, or a "neutral" link to Amazon.

Is there some policy on this, and am I doing the "right thing"?

An example (uncorrected) is here: Marilyn Monroe - last link on page for the book "The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe" - the inktomi-bkasin-20 looks like an affiliate ID to me.

For reference, a google link for digging up Amazon links: [1] Ianb 22:44, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

This is not as it should be. All that should be there is the ISBN or ASIN, which gives a page offering numerous library and retail options. Kill these when you find them, replace with our usual method of including an ISBN. -- Jmabel 23:13, Sep 9, 2004 (UTC)
and never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. I suspect most people merely cut & paste the URL they see when they browse Amazon ... what you call their affiliate ID is merely the URL when logged in. --Tagishsimon
I believe the Amazon references on a previous version of Thomas_Merton: [2] are not down to stupidity. Ianb 07:20, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It is a ridiculous disservice to readers to remove links such as the citation supporting the following quote: According to Firth, an anthropologist, "A major problem in modern thought is the existence and survival of religion." (Firth 1996:1) If the Reference section of a Wikipedia article gives the ISBN, there is no rational justification to remove the link to the actual image of the text where the reader can peruse the context in which the quote was made. This is the electronic age, my friends. No reason to be afraid of it. Links to electronic text are good. Stop being Luddites! You are being irrational in this indiscriminate nuking of links. You have set in motion whole idiot armies and bots doing nothing but making information less accessible and sending us back into the primitive Age of "you have to buy it before you can read it." ---Rednblu 02:01, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Amazon on wikipedia should be either a large river in South America or a woman in comfortable shoes. That's it. The tags gotta go. Carptrash 00:18, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've simplified links in the past, as well. If I sign in, I get a link like this[3]. If I get to Amazon via known 'associate', I get something more like [4]. I believe that any URL with "ASIN" in the path (as does that MM link), will be credited to the associate affiliated with the values of the next two data points in the URL. Niteowlneils 00:45, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I do not think that ASIN denotes an affiliate tag. I have not tracked down exactly what it does mean, but it looks like an Amazon specific reference number for the book (or whatever product) to me - vide --Tagishsimon
OK, I may have guessed at the wrong commonality. The affiliate link has /dilbertcom-20/, which is very similar to the 'inktomi-bkasin-20' in the MM link, and there is nothing similar in my logged in link. Niteowlneils 01:52, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
As an afiliate I can comfirm that the inktomi-bkasin-20 and dilbertcom-20 are afiliate IDs. In my opinion they should be removed when fould as they do credit the afiliate with the click. --NetGuru 01:02, 2005 May 29 (UTC)
I've looked into the matter: ASIN is documented here, who'd have thought it ;-) Ianb 07:20, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Well, after a few weeks here, I would have! This is a great project because it has old as well as brand new information, all linked together. It's like an oral history as history is being made. Spalding 23:00, Sep 17, 2004 (UTC)

End moved discussion

ASIN URL format[edit]

The format used by WIkipedia to link to Amazon sites in Special:Booksources is:

This seems more straightforward than the format described in the article, but it is not described.

The returned page on Amazon has the format:

Why so many variations? RayGates 13:40, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Backwards compatibility. Obidos is no longer used on the US site.


"On Amazon's USA-targetted web site, a product's Web address (URL) always contains its ASIN, and, given the ASIN, a user can construct the product's URL in the following manner (as of August 2006):

The former format was

Therefore the URL on Amazon for the paperback of Strunk, White, and Roger Angell's The Elements of Style, 4th Edition, whose ISBN is 020530902X, is:

A shorter form of the URL for most products is:

So the URL for Elements of Style, 4th Edition would become: "

This block of text in this article doesn't sound quite encyclopedic to me for it be featured here. Should this be transwikied over to Wikibooks? ~ Toastr 04:27, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

non-ISBN ASINs[edit]

Where an ASIN is not an ISBN, such as a CD (see Christopher Parkening) or older books (see Raymond Cattell (Books)), it usually starts with B. It would be nice for this range of identifiers to be technically described on this article. John Vandenberg 00:52, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

ASIN useful information[edit]

I'm citing the ASIN for the article on Ivar Ekeland: the listing for Google books, only lets us verify the cited passage. The Amazon entry provides a picture of the cover, an independent verification of the publication details (which were sketchy on google books): Jones, Alan (August 1993). Clarke, Frederick S., ed. "Jurassic Park: Computer graphic dinosaurs". Cinefantastique. Frederick S. Clarke. 24 (2) (Jurassic Park): 8–15. ASIN B002FZISIO. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 

Merge Article with[edit]

My two-cents-worth: I'm agin it. Regardless of its proprietary origin, ASIN is a useful way of identifying products uniquely, and it's useful to have a simple article on it without having to wade through a bunch of stuff on the company that readers may not be interested in. --Paul Magnussen 17:21, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm for it. I think this article should merge with and become a section of that article. Searches for ASIN would still be directed (or re-directed) to this content, but there is no strong need for it to be a separate article. It is content that is only relevant for users. (I sell books on, so I'm one of them.) I'm glad this content is in Wikipedia, but I think it should be merged with the article. --Bill.albing 12:15, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Nope, I don't think it should be merged. The article is already too big. --MarsRover 05:40, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Merging is a poor idea. Does the majority of readers interested in know about or care about asin? Absolutely not. Does the vast majority of readers interested in asin details already know what is? Absolutely. The audiences for the two pages are greatly different and they are distinct subjects. ASIN is a much more obscure techincal concept of interest to a much smaller and more focused audience. Anonymous 05:40, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Oppose The ASIN is a separate technical subject related to Amazon but not intrinsic to a discussion of Amazon itself. By the way, where is the case being made for it to be merged? The only thing above is merely an assertion no strong need and not a reason for the merge. patsw (talk) 22:06, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

13 digit ISBN vs ASIN?[edit]

Does anyone know Amazon's policy for calculating an ASIN based on the 13 digit ISBN format? At the moment you can calculate the 10 digit ISBN by taking off the 978 prefix and recalculating the check digit, this can then be used as the ASIN. However for ISBN-13 numbers starting with other prefixes there seems to be no easy way of calculating the ASIN apart from searching for the book on Amazon. —Ashleyvh (talk) 08:23, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Actually, Amazon seems to apply the same method to create 10 digit ASINs from ISBN starting 979 as they do for 978 prefix, relying on the fact that 979 prefix does not have a formal 10 digit equivalent, and the check digit for 979 prefix (which would include the prefix) would calculate to a different (and hopefully non-clashing) value. 979 is mostly used for sheet music at the moment (9790 prefix replacing deprecated 10 digit ISMN M- numbers), although sheet music may have an ISBN or both (sheet music not required to have ISMN, just suggested). -- (talk) 17:24, 11 June 2012 (UTC)


I've removed the WP:LAW banner from this talk page. This is no more a law article than it is a numbers articles. Under the rationale given should we tag every book still under copyright as WP:LAW too since the words are proprietary (and for that matter anything owned by anyone)? Aboutmovies (talk) 11:51, 27 December 2008 (UTC)