The Online Books Page

About Stable links

The Online Books Page is now offering stable links for its listings, as an alternative to direct links to online copies of books. You're welcome to use them in your own web pages and directories.

Following a stable link leads you to an information page on this site that describes the online book. This information page will also usually have one or more content links that go to the actual online book, wherever on the Internet that happens to be.

In our listings, the Info icon next to a book listing indicates the stable link. Click or select the icon to follow it.

What's useful about our stable links?

While some web links stay valid for years and years, many become obsolete very quickly. Users who try to follow them get frustrated by seeing "not found" messages, or worse, instead of what they were looking for. And if you've made a link that goes bad, you'll have to hunt around for a new working link.

If you use our stable links, link rot becomes our problem, not yours. If we receive a bad link report for a book, we'll do our best to find another working content link to use from our stable link page. You don't have to change links on your end at all. In some cases, our stable link location may have content links to multiple copies of an online book, making it more likely that at least one of them will work at any given time.

Our stable links also put the book you're linking to in context, which can be very useful for readers. You can see information about the book such as its authors, subjects, and publication notes. You can follow hyperlinks from this information to find other books by the same author, with the same title, or on similar subjects, in our listings. Through these links, you have access not just to one book, but to many thousands of other books that might also be of interest.

How stable are these links, really?

We can't guarantee that all the stable links we give will provide access to a book forever. Because we're an index, not a repository, of online books, we do not control the actual content we link to. If all copies of a book are taken offline, we will no longer be able to give access to it. (And copyright holders generally have the legal right to withdraw their books.) Moreover, we might not notice bad content links in our own database right away (so please report them!), and we can't guarantee that this site will be around forever or always be in its current location.

On the other hand, we've maintained this site since 1993 (and have moved only once), and we give high priority to broken content link reports. So our links may well be stable enough for your purposes.

Here's the level of service we aim for:


Some online book repositories we link to offer stable or persistent links of their own. You may want to look into these as well, and see whether those links or our stable links would meet your needs better.

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