Net sales for the entire United States publishing industry are estimated to have increased by 4.6 percent from 2002 to 2003 to a grand total of $23.4 billion, according to figures released last March (2004) by the Association of American Publishers.
According to another source, in 2004, Amazon.com did $2.27 billion in sales, Borders/Walden did $3.31 billion, and Barnes & Noble did $4.12 billion. BN.com did another $440 million. Big numbers.
Industry experts say that in 2005, affiliate programs and networks will account for 20 percent of online sales. E-commerce booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble want affiliates to help sell their wares. They will pay you a modest commission, usually three or four percent.
Unless your member website is exclusively devoted to reviewing and selling books, you’re not going to get rich by posting the occasional book review that includes a hypertext link in which your affiliate ID is embedded. So why bother?
Why review books
Reviewing the occasional book on your site is a service to your subscribers. You help them decide if they should invest their money in buying the book and spend their precious time reading it.
Or you “net out” the content, boil it down into a fast reading report as a way of helping your subscriber save time. Think Reader’s Digest.
Here are the essential rules for posting book reviews on your site:
- Read the book yourself. Don’t write a summary of what others have written about the book. Write your own report.
- Be candid. Your credibility depends on your consistent truthfulness. Don’t be recommending a book simply in the expectation of making a few commissioned sales.
- Embed a hypertext link to the sales page in your text. This is a service to your subscriber.
- Don’t hide your relationship with the Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites, advertise it. Always include your affiliate link to BN.com or Amazon.com. These bookseller sites add to your site’s credibility. As long as your review is honest, no one is going to begrudge you a modest commission for steering them in the right direction.
- Make certain the hyperlinks to BN.com and Amazon.com open in a new window.
- Join the Amazon.com Associates (affiliate) program.
- Join the BN.com Affiliate Network.
Helpful hint: Arrange for direct deposit into your bank account of your affiliate commissions.