Books have surprisingly gained popularity in the digital age over the last two decades. This spike in popularity has resulted in the creation of a number of major book affiliate programs that allow you to promote books written by other authors to earn commissions on any sales you can refer.
In addition to selling printed books, some of these affiliate programs even make their books available as digital e-books. E-books have become extremely popular over the last few years with the development of portable, electronic e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle. They are often cheaper and more flexible than print books, since they can be viewed on a variety of devices or even printed.
It’s rather simple to join a book affiliate program, but it is important to know something about the different affiliate networks that offer commissions for book sales.
Some of these programs are offered directly through the company that is selling the books, while other companies use affiliate networks to handle commissions. The affiliate networks may have products available for sale from more than one company, although stand-alone programs still offer a huge selection of books.
Reviews are usually the best way to refer book sales, but it’s important to write descriptive reviews that will actually encourage someone to want to buy the book right away. It can also be helpful to review books within a single category because it will help search engines rank those reviews better.
Amazon Associates Program
Amazon offers one of the best affiliate programs for both books and e-books, as well as almost any other kind of physical product. Although they are technically a stand-alone program, they sell products from thousands of different companies, individuals, publishers and manufacturers.
A benefit to using Amazon is the ability to sell books in other languages and to site visitors from outside of the USA. There are actually eight different Amazon affiliate programs and five of them are in non-English languages (German, French, Italian, Japanese and Chinese). Many of these sites have their own selection of books, although extensive e-book selection seems to be limited to Amazon.com (USA & Worldwide), Amazon.co.uk (UK & Europe) and Amazon.de (Germany).
The commission structure for affiliates starts at a lower rate than the other affiliate programs, but Amazon’s commissions are also based on monthly sales volume. At their top tier rate, they pay a higher percentage than most other book affiliate programs. Their worldwide name recognition, trust and massive product selection ranks them among the best affiliate programs.
Barnes & Noble
In the USA, Barnes & Noble is a popular place for people to go to buy and read books. Since a lot of people are used to going there to buy their books, their affiliate program presents an excellent opportunity to refer sales.
Company trust is essential when it comes to buying products online today. Even people who are suspicious of online shopping scams will have confidence in buying from a company like Barnes & Noble.
The fact that the customer can drive down the road to their local store to work out any problems with their online transaction is a huge advantage for affiliate book marketers online. Barnes & Noble will either ship books or allow in-store pick up.
Their affiliate program is actually run by the Google Affiliate Network. Referring Barnes & Noble book sales pays a 6% commission. Since it’s run by Google, affiliates can also have confidence in the technology that they depend on to get credit for their commissions, and they have access to promote products from other companies that use the Google Affiliate Network.
This book affiliate program is fairly limited in its potential customer audience, but it may be a great fit for particular niche websites and/or demographics.
The 8% commission rate is better than most book affiliate programs, although a higher commission rate is expected with the lower target audience. They actually offer a very nice selection of educational material that should be able to generate easy sales with targeted traffic.
The National Geographic affiliate program is run by Commission Junction, another leading affiliate network. Although they may not have the variety that some of the other programs offer, there are many other products and services available through other companies with Commission Junction.
Books A Million
Another company that uses Commission Junction for their book affiliate program is Books A Million, which is another popular retail book store in the USA. They offer many of the same advantages and benefits as the Barnes & Noble affiliate program, but their commission rate is lower at 3%.
In general, their commission rate is lower because Books A Million is a discount book retailer and usually has cheaper book prices than Barnes & Noble. As a result, it can actually be better to promote their products because customers may be more likely to complete the purchase because they have the best price.
Even though the commission rate is lower, the cheaper book prices can result in better monthly commissions from more sales. It is important to try to earn a good commission from each sale, but it makes more long-term business sense to promote the lower priced products that customers are more likely to buy.