Amazon isn’t shy about finding new ways to sell books, and now they’ve rolled out a fairly creative one. Using the Creative Commons license, Amazon is recreating Wikipedia articles about authors and books, hosting them on Amazon.com, and inserting links to buy books referenced in the articles.
“Shopping-enabled Wikipedia pages are a new introduction on Amazon.com,” Amazon spokeswoman Anya Waring told CNET when asked via e-mail. “As of November, we have rolled [the feature] out in the books category; however, [it] will be expanding to new categories in 2011.”
It’s not an official partnership, Waring explained. Amazon’s use of the content is licensed under Creative Commons, the alternative to traditional copyright that Wikipedia uses for all of its user-sourced encyclopedia content. At the bottom of a “Shopping Enabled Wikipedia Page,” a message explains: “The article appearing above is from Wikipedia…The Wikipedia content may be available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, version 3.0 or any later version.”
While it’s a bit weird to see something that started as community-based turned into a commercial enterprise, Amazon has actually done awith the articles. They are clear from the start that it’s an Amazon webpage, with the title of the page “Shopping-enabled Wikipedia page on Amazon”. The Amazon shopping links are clearly broken out from the regular links with little down arrows, and there’s a nice preview that gives you the paper and Kindle prices, with a link to “more buying information”.
Interestingly, this isn’t something Amazon’s advertising too heavily. There’s no press release for it, and the only way I tracked it down was by searching for it (and reading about it on CNet). While they say they’re planning to roll it out to more items in the future, I wonder if it’s all just a test run to including Wikipedia right on Amazon’s product pages. In any case, if you found a wiki with links to buy from Amazon, would you be more likely to buy than if you had to open a new tab to hit up Amazon instead?