Amazon Standard Identification Number

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The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a unique identification number assigned by and its partners for product identification within the organization.[1]

Each product sold on 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 (and subsidiaries), such as businesses in the yellow pages (on and OpenSearch feeds.

Proponents of the free culture movement such as Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales, have criticized the ASIN as an example of a proprietary product 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.[2]

[edit] 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: (dp="detail page")

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

Similar URLs can be constructed for Amazon sites in other countries, such as:

However, not all sites carry all titles—e.g. ASIN 393206402X is only available on the German version of Amazon.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Amazon help: 'What is an ASIN?'
  2. ^ Jimmy Wales: Ten Things That Will Be Free Wikimania 2005 keynote, August 2005. Section 8. Free the Product Identifiers!. Video (1:07:51)
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