Are you a passionate reader and/or book author? Have you ordered titles from numerous retailers, and have a unique insight into one more specific genre? More importantly, are you looking to make passive income from doing what you love the most⸺ reading and writing?
If so, eBook affiliate programs might be just the right deal for you! In this article, you’ll find out how online book affiliations work. You’ll learn how much money you can potentially make, how to sign up, and how to properly market your affiliate links.
Why Become a Kobo/Kindle etc. Affiliate?
Did you know that only in the US, nearly 200 million eBooks were sold in 2020? Digital books are now widely available, and people seem to can't get enough of them. They are accessible from most devices, cost-effective, and with the latest possibility of audio narration, an average person can go through multiple books each day!
However, the tables have turned when it came to content distribution. No title, on its own, regardless of the book quality and advertising can gain exposure easily in an oversaturated market. In this situation, online publishers began using affiliate programs.
But, what are affiliate programs?
If you have an online platform, like a blog, a YouTube channel, or a sizable email list, you have potential access to dozens, hundreds, or even thousand eBook readers.
How Do Book Affiliate Programs Work?
In an effort to gain more customers, major eBook publishers and retailers started their affiliate programs. Upon registering as an affiliate, you gain the opportunity to earn a percentage from anyone who pays membership or purchases a book using your link.
The affiliate percentages are small, typically around 4-5%. But, you don't earn them from only a single purchase. For example, if someone registers to Amazon Kindle or Kobo using your affiliate link, you'll receive percentages on their book purchases on a monthly basis! Isn't this great? However, there's a catch.
Caution: Affiliate Links Aren't Always Welcome
Affiliate marketing, in general, earned a bad reputation because online criminals abused it to create spam and perform online scams and theft. Although there are as many legitimate companies who use affiliate programs as there are fraudulent ones, most social media platforms banned their direct use.
Because of these limitations, special rules apply to how you should distribute your affiliate link. The proper way to market would be to promote your link via your website or blog.
You can write book reviews and attach your affiliate link to the book's title, or create a short call-to-action at the end of your post. When your reader clicks on the link, they'll be redirected to a page that you chose to advertise. In this case, it can be the book on Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble that you wrote about in your blog.
Know How to Market
Your success and potential profit depend on the number of people that use your link and the number of purchases that they make. There are many blog authors who earn a living from affiliate sales, but there are also many more who fail.
Affiliate book marketing is a skill in itself. The best-performing affiliates are known to write genuine reviews of books they purchased and read several times, plus done some research to get accurate information about the author, their background, and the title itself.
Writing a short post about what book you liked and why most likely won't suffice. Readers are nowadays drawn to analysis, criticism, and always in search of deeper meaning behind the writing...but without spoilers.
That's right! To sell books successfully, you need the ability to write compelling blog posts about books, but not reveal too much of their content. Luckily, that's a skill you can learn and practice.
Top 5 eBook Affiliate Programs in 2022
Now that you know what book affiliations are and how to use them, let's review different programs so that you can decide which one you like best.
#1: Amazon Kindle
Being the most popular online eBook retailer, Amazon doesn't lack publicity and they're trusted among readers. Anyone can find a book that they like on this platform, no matter their preferred genre or topic of interest.
Their affiliate program is free for anyone who wishes to join, while a successful sale will earn you a 4% commission.
Launched back in 2009, Kobo features over 5 million eBooks of all genres. They also have eReaders and audiobooks. Even better, they're available worldwide.
Kobo's affiliate program is free for anyone to join. If you advertise your link successfully, you can accumulate earnings at a flat 5% commission for book sales.
With over 22 selling books under their belt, eBooks.com is both a well-known and a reliable retailer. They have a customer base of several million, plus sell to all major markets, including the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Canada. Their app supports a wide range of devices, so your readers won't have an issue accessing their link.
To access their affiliate program, you need an account at Commission Junction or cj.com. From there, you can apply for affiliation at eBooks.
After registering, you can choose from over 2 million amazing books to read, review, post about, and advertise. The commission plan depends on commission tiers that you achieve and ranges from 8% to 15%.
#4: Barnes & Noble
With over a million books for sales, and a variety of additional products like music, toys, games, DVDs, and others, Barnes & Noble has many marketable titles to choose from.
However, they are a US-based retailer. This means that you'll be able to market their products only if you live in the US and don't aim for international or global reach. You need a cj.com account to access their affiliate program.
After that, you can choose which of their books to promote and earn a commission each time one is sold. If you have a blog or a website with a significant following, the 2-4% commission can build up to a significant amount.
#5: The Urban Writers
That’s right! We not only provide written content, but also hire freelancers and offer an affiliate program. If you're a book lover, you'll be happy to know that we market globally, and also feature a marketplace where our clients can purchase fully written, ready-to-publish books!
To access our affiliate program, you'll need to apply and get your promo code. After that, you can continue to post and share about literature and content creation. From our experience, a lot of passionate readers are also writers and future self-publishers, who need help either with creation, editing, cover designs, or book descriptions.
Whenever one of your readers purchases our package using your promo code, you’ll get a commission. As the rest of eBook affiliate programs, we pay out commissions on a monthly basis.
Affiliate Book Marketing Do's and Don'ts
Although the idea of becoming an affiliate sounds quite straightforward, there's still a right and a wrong way to use your affiliate link. Here are a couple of tips for successful promotions:
- Purchase the book you want to promote and emphasize that you've done so in your post.
- Only review and write about books you had the time to properly read and analyze.
- Promote your blog post as much as you can, but remember to only send affiliate links as a response to someone's message. Otherwise, your message could easily go to 'Spam,' or your account could get blocked.
- Write about books you haven't read. Ever. It always shows and everyone gets caught.
- Share misinformation. Only draw conclusions from your own reading. If you're analyzing the information from other sources, emphasize that that's how other sources see a particular scene, dialogue, metaphor, etc.
Being reported for misinformation could get your blog taken down, and you're also at risk from legal repercussions.
- Spoil the book for readers. As a reviewer, you may like a title very much, but remember to entice the reader into buying the book. You shouldn't offer them a full breakdown of the plot. Instead, talk about other relevant aspects- tone, style, philosophy, etc., but without giving away the actual story.
Becoming an affiliate for one or more eBook retailers is a great opportunity to earn additional cash for doing something you love. While everyone can potentially make money with affiliate programs, here’s a word of caution: There’s only a limited number of ways to do it successfully.
Most people who take up affiliations eventually give up, but it’s because they have big expectations from the get-go. Instead of doing that and being disappointed, use the opportunity to profit from books and titles that you really like and enjoy reading.
That way, you’ll gain more exposure, no one will accuse you of spam, and you’ll make enough commissions to at least fund all of your reading. Remember to stay honest and genuine in your reviews, and to never, ever, spoil a book by revealing it’s entire plot. Readers won’t forgive you for that.
Are you ready to begin writing book reviews? If you’d like to, but you’re unsure of your skills, why not let us help? Here at TUW, we offer professional blog and SEO article writing services, and we’d love to help get you started!