Universal Book Link User Guide

Books2Read is proud to provide the Universal Book Link, a free resource designed to help authors and publishers share their books with readers, and to help readers find books at their favorite stores.

Helping Readers Find Books at Their Favorite Stores

The internet is a great place to discover new books to read, but it can sometimes require a little work between hearing about a book you want to buy and actually reading that book. There are a lot of bookstores out there, so even when someone shares a link directly to the book you're looking for, that link might not take you to the bookstore for your preferred reading app. (Or your local version of the page.)

That can leave you navigating to the proper store site and searching for the book you were already linked to. Sometimes the person sharing the link will try to help you out, sharing half a dozen links at once (one for each store she can track down).

That leaves you wading through a pile of links to find the one that's right for you. Either way it's a relatively small hassle, but it's also an easily solvable one.

Here is where Universal Book Links Shine.

When you see a Universal Book Link from Books2Read, you can trust it to get you to the store you want. That's because a Universal Book Link can keep track of a book's location at all of the major stores. The first time you click a Universal Book Link, you'll see a page that looks like this:

You can see which stores sell the book you're looking for and click through to your favorite. If you choose one of the stores listed, we'll give you the option of saving that store as your favorite.

If you choose a favorite store, the next time you click a Universal Book Link (any Universal Book Link anywhere on the internet), you won't see Books2Read at all. You'll go directly to that book on your favorite store.

If you ever want to change your favorite store setting, visit the Books2Read.com home page. There's a button right on the front page to help you change it.

Helping Authors, Publishers, and Fans Share Books

That's a handy little resource for readers, but Universal Book Links really shine when you look at them from the perspective of an author, publisher, or book reviewer--anyone in the business of sharing books online.

Smart publishers do everything they can to distribute their books widely. They'll make sure every book is for sale on every available bookstore, so readers can find the book wherever they're shopping.

Maintaining that level of distribution can be a lot of work especially when it comes time to promote. A book reviewer recommending a book to his audience might have to dig up a dozen different links. An author hosting a website for her fans might need to maintain a separate page for every book in her catalog, with links to every bookstore on each book's page, and more work to do every time a new store gets added.

Universal Book Links make easy work for everyone. Track down one link for your book (say, the Amazon.com link), and paste it into the Universal Book Link box at Books2Read.com.

We'll do the work from there. Books2Read grabs some key metadata from the link you provided (title, author name, cover image) then scours all the major bookstores for matches. If we can find them, we'll automatically associate them with your new Universal Book Link.

Even if we can't find your book somewhere it's available, you can easily add that link to its Universal Book Link and save. From then on it will be available in the future wherever you share this link.

If we ever get it wrong, you can replace any of the store links we auto-discovered with your own link. If you sign up for a free account, you can even provide affiliate-code links for supported sites, allowing you to generate revenue and track referral behavior while still enjoying the convenience of Universal Book Links.

You can make a Universal Book Link in minutes, but the real value comes over time. As long as you register for a free account at Books2Read, you'll be able to come back and modify all of your links in the future.

That means the author stuck maintaining a website for every book in her series could put just one link— the Universal Book Link for that book— on each page. If she ever expands her distribution to a new store, instead of modifying every page on her site, she can update the Universal Book Link at Books2Read without having to mess with any code.

As soon as the link is modified at Books2Read, that new store will appear for anyone who clicks the existing Universal Book Link anywhere on the internet. Not only does the author's website get updated, but so do any old links posted to Facebook or Twitter, in forum posts or book reviews, or anywhere else the Universal Book Link was used.

Then there's the data. We track every click on every Universal Book Link, which gives us a chance to see what readers are really looking for.

And we're happy to share. The same page that lets you modify an existing Universal Book Link will also let you see how your readers have been interacting with it. We'll give you stats including click-through rates for everyone using your link.

It's powerful. It's easy. And it's free. Try it now by creating a Universal Book Link of your own!