Has anyone written an interface through which I can get a citation of a book/paper from amazon.com?

Thanks for the suggestions from fellow users. I'm updating the questions to detail in more specifics:

  • If you are using biblatex, the recent versions of biber have direct support for remote data sources. So, if you have a URL which returns a bibtex file, you can use it directly as a data source name instead of a file in biblatex.
    – PLK
    Mar 25, 2011 at 18:57

8 Answers 8


Copy the ISBN to Ottobib http://www.ottobib.com/

  • this seems more usable to me
    – iceman
    Dec 5, 2010 at 15:43
  • Just make sure you have the right editions ISBN. I've also found some shorting of titles and such, but it will get most of it.
    – Canageek
    Oct 3, 2011 at 22:04
  • 1
    BibTeX for books only list the first author, e.g., ottobib.com/works-cited/8130616f41 Feb 4, 2016 at 15:48

Check out zotero.org. You'll find bib/bibtex discussions in the forums and useful information spread across the web (e.g., here).

  • This is a great tool and I use it a lot when importing references from Amazon and IEEE. 1 vote up. Jul 14, 2011 at 9:05
  • Zotero takes too many steps/clicks (install it, capture ref in library, export to BibTex file, open file in text editor, etc.). Furthermore, I found it's not reliable with Amazon.com. It often gets the author's names backwards (first, last) and/or doesn't have any authors. Feb 4, 2016 at 15:27

Note that Amazon may not be the most reliable source of bibliographic details. At least, I recently had to submit corrections regarding the creators listed for one edition of Frankenstein...

Anyway, use care, and it's best to double check against the information actually on/in the item in question.

  • 1
    Yes you are right in mentioning to verify the bibliographic details from Amazon. 1 vote up. Jul 14, 2011 at 9:05
  • I've seen a lot of edition and publisher mistakes on RPG books, so yeah, verify that.
    – Canageek
    Oct 3, 2011 at 22:03

Go to http://lead.to/amazon/en/?op=bt , put ISBN or title, choose BibTeX output and will look up in Amazon and generate the BibTeX, as a bonus it will contain the ISBN and the Amazon URL and even the price.

Alternatives (using ISBN only)

  1. http://manas.tungare.name/software/isbn-to-bibtex/ it will generate the BibTeX including the Amazon URL.
  2. http://www.ottobib.com, the same, but it will not generate the Amazon URL.

Alternative (using DOI only)

  1. http://www.doi2bib.org/
  • 2
    lead.to amazon has no working API key and stopped working as of 24.12.2022. isbn-to-bibtex is not hosted anymore. ottobib is discontinued.
    – C5H8NNaO4
    Dec 24, 2022 at 11:16

You can try this ISBN to BibTex it fetches data from Amazon! I hope it helps.


There also is a site called Literatur-Generator, which apparently is German but never the less gives really nice BibTeX entries.

  • Site doesn't work unless you disable adblockers :-( Feb 4, 2016 at 15:49

Check out libx. This is a free and open source browser plugin developed at Virginia Tech by Prof. Godmar Back and Prof Andrew Bailey. It is available for chrome, firefox and a couple of other browsers.

Editions specific to a lot of universities across the world are available. Even if you do not belong to any university, you could load one (it does not require any credentials for basic usage), e.g. you could load the Virginia Tech edition (simply because of my assumption that it is likely to be comprehensive. There are students still working in the research group to continuously extend it using VT's library catalogue as baseline).

When you navigate to amazon.com, e.g. their listing for the C programming language, 2nd edition book here and scroll a few lines down to the product details section, you can find the ISBN. Now, the libx plugin makes the ISBN a hot-link automagically. See picture below.


Now, simply clicking on the ISBN hotlink shall take you to VT library's OPAC (online public access catalogue). See screenshot below


Clicking on the link takes you to the detailed record in the catalogue. On the right-hand side of the page you get the cite link, as well as ability to export to a variety of formats (including bibtex among countless others).

This may sound like a convoluted way in comparison to the other dedicated tools listed here, which I partly acknowledge. However, the libx tool works not only in amazon, but also among lots of other sites and databases, such as worldcat, bowker-books-in-print, scopus, IEEE, sciencedirect, springer, wiley, nature, ebsco, ntis, compendex -- basically anything with a ISBN, ISSN or any other sort of citable content.

It is a swiss-army knife for citations. Considering its academic lineage and its free and open source nature, it is my go to tool.

Full disclaimer: I am a former Virginia Tech student and some of my friends were involved in developing this software as part of their MS and PhD dissertations.


Use google scholar. Search for the book title. Click the "two commas" icon, then a popup form shows up with many options including BibTex.

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