On the Amazon display problem…

Aug 12, 2012 | Opinions

I’ve written before on the problem of adblockers taking out Amazon listings. In a nutshell, Firefox and Chrome’s most popular addons are adblockers, which strip annoying ads out of webpages as they load up. They unfortunately take out Amazon’s book affiliate widget too, and this is a big problem if an author is using it to display their books on their website.

Well, I’ve been just a little bit out of touch lately because I’m building a simplified WordPress plugin that can replace the Amazon widget as well as display links to other buying options for each book. It’s a little difficult because I essentially have to pick up WP plugin development as I go along, and that’s not so easy even when you already know PHP and Javascript.

Ideally this will be submitted to WordPress as well, and released for free under the GPL license. I’ll also try to offer a little support for anyone who has trouble with it.

The functionality I’m aiming for is as follows:

  • Each copy of the plugin widget will take up to three books in a row, depending on the sidebar width.
  • Each book will have a single cover image sized at 100px by 160px.
  • On holding the mouse over each image, a popup will appear with a little icon for each buying option (I’ll try to include as many as I can).
  • In the WP admin section, the author must specify the image file for each book and the links to each buying option.
  • Anything left blank will not show up.

This is actually quite a bit undertaking for me, but I think it’s needed. The Ted Weinstein Literary Agency have a basic version that requires more coding than I think a non-techy person can handle, and don’t include Smashwords or Kobo. The Amazon Showcase plugin hasn’t been updated in two years. I included a section in my book on how to write HTML specifically so authors could list their books on their site sidebar without having to worry about adblockers or the like, but it’s really not enough.

I think it’s time for a better solution, hence why I’m going to make this happen. Suggestions welcome if you’ve got them.