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Book Report: Longshot

So. Y’all know that I prefer not to link to Amazon, mostly because I’m pretentious, but also because I think Amazon is evil, and I’d prefer not to encourage Gentle Readers to purchase books from them. When I can, I’ll link to the publisher’s page, because, you know, they’re the publisher, and deserve some credit for publishing the book. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily think y’all should buy the book directly from the publisher. Sometimes that’s a good idea, sometimes it isn’t. I’d prefer that than Amazon, but buying from a local seller would be fine, too, as would buying a used copy through one of the various brokers. Or not buying it at all; borrowing from a library, or a friend, or through one of the book-swapping brokers would be just fine. Gentle Readers are free to do what they want, of course, but as I do have some preferences, I try to indicate what they are, and after that, you are on your own. So I link to the publisher, when I can. But what do I do when I can’t? When the publisher doesn’t have a linkable page for the book, or when the book is out of print and there is no publisher? For the last few years, I’ve been making it up as I go along. Perhaps it’s time to make a policy, and to do so, I am asking your advice. It seems to me there are a few ways to go.

  • A Worldcat link, such as Longshot. This has the advantage of encouraging people to use their local libraries. Local libraries are Good Things.
  • A LibraryThing link, such as Longshot. This supports LibraryThing, of which I am fond (of), and you can get from there to a dozen or so book swapping sites. Or I could make it a direct swapping site link, such as Longshot.
  • A Google Books link, such as Longshot. Google isn’t necessarily evil (and they say they are not evil, which is convincing), and there are some good things about the whole Google Books whacked-out conspiracy.
  • A Fantastic Fiction link, such as Longshot. That would give you lots of information about various editions, and they seem to be pretty accurate.
  • A link to the UK publisher, such as Longshot. If there is one.
  • A link to a more-or-less official site, such as Longshot. Often, the only purchasing links are to Amazon, though.
  • A link to an unofficial site, such as Longshot. One drawback of this is that I would have to hunt for these, and then look at a handful of them to see which is the best.
  • A total absence of link, such as Longshot
Or I could just muddle along as I do, but I’d really rather have a general rule to follow.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


When I read your reviews, what I want to know from a book link is: the author's name (as it often doesn't show up in your review, and I may not recognize or be able to find the book by its title alone) and a quick sketch of the premise or plot, without spoilers. From there, I can search out my own means of acquisition, should I be so inclined.

Ooh, a policy! I love policies!

First, no honking. That was really crazy-inducing this morning, when 3 separate cars all honked in front of our house making pick-ups at neighbors' houses.

Second, clean up the cookie crumbs. Self-explanatory.

Third, no cookies in the bed. In case the second policy is poorly implemented.

Should the link policy depend on whether you like the book? Or the author?

I like LibraryThing or Google Books for functionality. I can get from there to Amazon.

I'm glad to see that you're convinced by Google's motto. I'll be sure and let people know it's working.

As for book links, on the rare occasions when I don't link to Amazon, I generally link to Powell's. I used to do that as a matter of principle, on the somewhat muddy grounds that an independently owned bookstore (even if a giant in its own right) is better than a giant corporation (even if an independently owned bookseller in its own right). But then I discovered that I found the Powell's site harder to navigate, less informative, and generally not as useful and usable as Amazon's, so I gave up.

...Why do you consider Amazon evil? I've seen various arguments (from other people) that I haven't found very convincing, but I'm always interested in hearing new ones. I suspect you've posted about this, but I'm in too much of a rush to go looking for it; feel free to tell me to RTFBlog.

Why do you consider Amazon evil?

It's in their mission statement, isn't it?


You could use a different method each time. The policy then would be something like "Book links are different, one to another, and that's what makes the world interesting and fun."

Seriously, though, I'm with Melissa R in that I'm interested in information about the book, and not so much in how to find it. (My theory is that I can figure that out myself, and that my preferred method--Library, used bookstore, or local new bookstore--would be different for each book.)

One exception I suppose would be if the book is (a) great, (2) hard to find, and (iii) the information about where to find it is likewise hard to find. But then the how-to-find-it information might make a good post on its own. "To order, place an orange square of paper in the windshield of your car." I mean, that's just wierd enough to be cool on it's own, right?

I would prefer that the link go to the DHS list of approved reading material and suspicious reading material, because that would be good to check on before borrowing or reading the book.


"To order, place an orange square of paper in the windshield of your car."

"You don't even polka!"

Here, I'll throw another one back at you:

"If I ran full-speed into you, I wouldn't break you -- "

"I'd just bend you real bad."

"I'll drink to that."

V: How about wikipedia?

SS and DP: What the heck are you guys doing? It looks like fun, but I don't understand the rules of the game...


We're quoting back and forth to each other from a collection of the comic strip Sylvia -- The Whole Enchilada, I think. Stephen started it: there's one strip in which Sylvia is listening to an add on the radio for a collection of polka hits that (quoting roughly here) "is not found in stores and can't be ordered through the mail. To request a copy, place a piece of orange paper on your dashboard." And one of Sylvia's cats wanders up with, in its mouth, a square bearing the legend:


(as the comic is in B&W, natch), to which Syliva replies, "you don't even polka."

Yeah. I can ruin any joke in the telling.

"Will no one rid me of this hair?"

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