links-310132_960_720After my post regarding Amazon’s crackdown on ‘interactive’ e-books, I started asking for a clarification of just what this means.

Is any form of URL linking permitted inside an e-book?

How, exactly, is Amazon defining ‘interactive’ content which must be banned?

I have e-mailed Amazon several times and received three responses so far. Here is the latest one, for a baseline:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us, as customer feedback like yours is always important. To improve the customer shopping experience, we have implemented new guidelines regarding coloring books that are intended to be interactive or would require additional resources aside from a Kindle device or Kindle application (phone/Mac/PC). Our guidelines are designed to reduce confusion for customers in their purchasing decisions and require that the game, app or reading experience must work entirely inside the Kindle reader, without the use of the browser or manual work such as a copy machine or screen capture program. If you wish to make this book available for sale on Amazon, please remove any reference to interactive content and resubmit for review.
Make sure the cover image and title prominently indicate the content within the book is not meant to be interactive in a font that is at least as large as the rest of the title.”

So what does this mean? I have tried, three times, to get Amazon to respond to one basic question: am I permitted to include any form of URL link inside an e-book, yes or no? Every time, I have gotten back a message that was a minor variation on the one above.

So, is Amazon banning any form of URL linking inside of an e-book? Are they cracking down, specifically, on coloring-themed titles—but in other genres, URL linking is permitted? I wish I knew. I have now sent a total of six emails to Amazon asking for clarification on this. I still have no idea what the guideline is.

I have no issues with quality control efforts as a thing. I am not a scammer aiming to flood the Kindle store with crappo, and if this book can be salvaged (it is, aside from a few web links, a straight-up informational text which will ‘work entirely within the Kindle reader’) I’d like to do it. But more importantly, I want to start working on other projects. So I’d like a straight-up answer as to whether web links inside of an Amazon e-book is permitted, or not permitted. I don’t know how else to phrase the question in order to get an answer from Amazon on that.

I do think web links—as part of a general straight-up content experience—can be useful and should not cause undue confusion or make for a poor experience for the customer. But if Amazon has a rule on this, I wish they’d be clearer on what it is.

Image credit: Here.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. I think Amazon is being very clear. To me the distinction is that a craft pattern is used to make something other than the craft pattern itself. Knitting. Embroidery. Building hobby items.

    Would you say sudoku and crosswords are craft patterns?

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