- Amazon Standard Identification Number
The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a unique identification number assigned by
Amazon.comand its partners for product identification within the Amazon.com organization. [ [http://amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=898182 Amazon help: 'What is an ASIN?'] ]
Each product sold on Amazon.com is given a unique ASIN. For books with 10-digit
ISBN, the ASIN and the ISBN are the same. Books without an ISBN and other products are also assigned ASINs. ASINs are also used for other items used by Amazon.com (and subsidiaries), such as businesses in the yellow pages (on A9.com) and OpenSearchfeeds.
Proponents of the
free culture movementsuch as Wikipediaco-founder, Jimmy Wales, have criticized the ASIN as an example of a proprietaryproduct identifier, arguing that it draws producers—especially smaller ones—into a lock-in with Amazon, and proposed the creation of an open alternative where producers could register product IDs for a marginal fee without proprietary control, and the resulting databases would be available under a free license. [Jimmy Wales: "" Wikimania2005 keynote, August 2005. Section "8. Free the Product Identifiers!". [http://www.knams.wikimedia.org/wikimania/Wikimania2005_JW1_low_video.ogg Video] (1:07:51)]
ASIN in Amazon URLs
On Amazon's USA-targeted web site, a product's web address (URL) always contains its ASIN in the format of:
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:
An even "shorter" form of the URL is:
So the URL for "Elements of Style, 4th Edition" would become:
Similar URLs can be constructed for Amazon sites in other countries, such as:
http://amazon.co.uk/o/ASIN/020530902X: http://amazon.de/o/ASIN/020530902X: http://amazon.fr/o/ASIN/020530902X
However, not all sites carry all titles—e.g. ASIN 393206402X is only available on the German version of Amazon.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.