Books2Read links and flippin' eck, I'm writing!

Illustration of men in suits and sunglasses, all pointing guns, with the title 'Club Rich' and various money/power words in the background.
Illustration by John Hain
Every time I open a text message or email at the moment, it's from one of my utilities providers telling me my bill's about to increase. Meanwhile, my union has paused strike action hoping it will contribute to a more positive negotiation climate. Seriously, the common people are on their knees and STILL we're sucking up to government and big capital, not that those two are separate entities.

All is not well in the Western world. Yes, for all of the above, I realise I'm very fortunate. I enjoy a comfortable standard of living but nothing more than that, and my private rants about the unfairness of a system that piles guilt onto us – the barely comfortable – while the bunch of w*nkers at the top don't give a single sh*t on a platinum toilet…are much longer and swearier.

But I didn't come here to rant; it escaped and expanded while I was considering the intended topic of this post, which is a couple of recent changes that have impacted on how I go about my daily business.

The TL;DR version

I have set up Books2Read pages for my books, from where you can find links to buy/download them via the online store of your choosing. You can find me here:

What are these big changes?

Photograph of two rescued, mixed-breed dogs lying on a couch.
First of all, Amazon retired their Smile programme, which allowed customers to nominate a charity that received donations each time the customer made a purchase. I had nominated Carla Lane Animals in Need Rescue in Liverpool, from where we adopted our two puppers. It's a fantastic shelter with a no-destruction policy and huge overheads. My tiny contribution via the Smile programme wasn't ground-breaking, but every penny counts for animal rescues.

Photo of a red and white border collie lying on a couch.

The Border Collie Trust GB in the Midlands (whence came Moo, who is no longer with us) have reported that the end of the Smile programme means losing out on around £3,000 of donations per year for them. That's not small change.

From here on, I'll be using Give As You Live where possible, but shame on you (yet again), Amazon. Like you can't afford the admin costs…which can be offset against tax – ah, I see the problem now.

Moving on…

SecondlyBooklinker changed how their universal links work. Until last year (2022), you provided Booklinker with one of the Amazon purchase links for a book, and it created a universal link that ensured the customer clicking on it was directed to their 'local' Amazon. This was necessary because, for instance, a UK customer landing on the US page for a Kindle book will be greeted with a 'book currently unavailable' message.

Last year, Booklinker embarked on a partnership with Apple, so now the universal link opens a second page where the customer has to choose between Amazon and Apple and click again. That's only a minor inconvenience, but it's hard enough to get someone to click in the first place without adding further obstacles. What's more, now Booklinker and Apple are buddied up, Amazon affiliate links can no longer be associated with Booklinker accounts, so I've lost the small kickback I received by using Booklinker with my affiliate links, and I publish my books to Apple via Smashwords, so I can't even benefit from Apple's affiliate link.

Agh, those big corporate b*stards! [Shakes tiny prole fist.]

My solution: Books2Read

If you read all of that, thanks. You're too kind…or too bored. Either way, I appreciate you hanging around.

I'd been looking for a solution to the universal-links issue for a few months and for some inexplicable reason completely disregarded Books2Read the first time. Well, no, it is…explicable, as when I shared what I was doing on Facebook, my dear friend and fellow author Hans M Hirschi asked what the catch was, and as far as I can tell there is none, but I must have thought the same when I dismissed it as an option. Perhaps I assumed it was only open to Draft2Digital authors; perhaps it was because the internet is full of promises for 'free' stuff – a literal web of lies.

But then Kaje Harper, another good author friend of mine, who also trusts me to format her books, asked me to add a Books2Read link to one of her ebooks, and it reminded me that I still hadn't resolved my universal-link problem.

Well, now I have! Hurrah!

In short, Books2Read is a free universal linking service, and I can once again use my affiliate links to Amazon as well as to Google Play and Smashwords. I don't really care about the money (I'm still weighing up whether to substantially reduce the price of my ebooks), but if I can squeeze a penny or two out of those glomping giants of technology, then I will.

Here are those Books2Read links again:

And finally (writing stuff)…

Black-and-white illustration of a Victorianesque lady sitting at a writing desk, quill in hand.
If you've read this far then your boredom will soon give way to sleep…or you like what I write and thus might be delighted – even as delighted as I am – to know that I'm writing actual words of fiction again.

Here's a wee snippet from this morning's scribbles of what is, potentially, Elementary (Hiding Behind The Couch Season 8):

George checked his phone again and set to work, still mulling over [REDACTED BECAUSE SPOILERS] for a while but then caught a hint of a song in the vacuum cleaner’s tone as it shifted with the different surfaces. He whistled along, chuckling to himself at the memory of his mum yelling at him to cut out that bloody racket. He hadn’t realised he did it until Josh pointed it out, using almost the exact phrase George’s mum had, but there was nobody to yell at him today. The only protest he got was Jinja bolting out the cat flap and Blue shifting from the kitchen to the living room and back again once George was done in there.

She still finds plenty to moan about, George mused, carting the cordless vacuum cleaner upstairs. He’d been quite happy shoving around the heavy old Hoover she’d bought off Jono for a tenner, which puffed out more dust than it picked up, and before that the rusty carpet sweeper with squeaky wheels that sounded like Farmer Jake’s guinea pig enclosure at feeding time. Then he’d moved in with Captain Gadget and his fancy cyclone-action cleaner, soon after replaced by a cordless version identical to the one in George’s hand. There’d been nothing wrong with it, but “Mam, do you want our old hoover?” was safer than “Mam, we bought you a new hoover.” She’d accepted with a reluctant, “Ta, lad,” and complained about it ever since.


  1. I cannot believe they ended Amazon Smile, despite the record profits they made during pandemic, and not paying ANY US taxes...

    1. It's awful, isn't it? I received an email this morning from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) explaining the impact of the end of the Smile programme on their foundation (about $5k a year) and asking people to find other ways to donate. NaNoWriMo does great community outreach work to improve literacy, equipping future authors/readers, and $5k is a tiny percentage of their annual budget, but still, it seems shortsighted to cut off funds that in the long-term benefit Amazon's future patrons.


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