Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

Affiliate Marketing With Books – Alternatives to Amazon

Written By: SiteSell in Affiliate Marketing | September 20, 2010

Affiliate Marketing

Books are often part of an affiliate marketing strategy. After all, which topic has not been covered in a book? Unfortunately, the "big daddy" of all online booksellers, Amazon, isn't known for paying generous commissions.

Many affiliates report that they are generally earning very little from Amazon. Whether it's due to the low commission rate, or the very short chance to earn from a visitor's purchase (known as the number of return days), there appears to be a general level of dissatisfaction with Amazon.

Do you have pages dedicated to theme-related books and/or reviews? If so, here are two options that can increase your earnings…

Replace Amazon Links With Google AdSense Ads

Do some performance testing. If you currently have Amazon affiliate links on your book page, replace them with Google AdSense ads for one month. Compare the previous month's income with this one and go with the winner.

If you offer several book suggestions on your site (you're a book lover!), do tandem testing. Use affiliate links on one page and Google AdSense ads on the other. (If you are an SBI! owner, use AdSense It! on visitor-generated book reviews on your site.) Once again, compare results at the end of the month.

Of course, if you want to be truly diligent, do a monetization flip with the two pages (i.e., the page with affiliate links now gets ads). After another month, you should have a clear indication of which strategy will earn you the most income.

Sign Up With Different Booksellers

There are several booksellers to choose from and all of them have better terms than Amazon (commission and/or return days).

Category #1 — Commission-Based Affiliates

  • www.barnesandnoble.com
  • www.tatteredcover.com
  • www.bookcloseouts.com
  • www.abebooks.com (also has .co.uk, .de and .fr aff programs)
  • www.biblio.com
  • www.overstock.com
  • www.indiebound.org
  • chapters.indigo.ca (You don't need a Canadian website to be an affiliate, but will non-Canadians order from a Canadian company?)

Category #2 — Click-Based (Pay Per Click) Affiliates

  • www.allbookstores.com
  • www.alldiscountbooks.net

Bottom line?

The decision is yours. Do some performance testing to determine if Google AdSense ads, Amazon or affiliate links from an alternative bookseller bring the best results for your website and affiliate marketing business.

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  • Lora

    Thank you! This article is so helpful. I’ve read and reviewed a number of books for my site, but have yet to publish any of those pages.
    What held me back? Amazon and their low commissions. I wasn’t sure where people were purchasing from online other than through them, so the list of commission-based affiliates is like striking gold for me. Now I can get those pages up and have them start earning.

  • Mike

    Let’s also not forget ebooks and other info products that tend to offer very generous commission rates (up to 70% in my experience). Plus, there is the appeal of it being more than just a book as they often boast multimedia features and exclusive membership, in addition to the text PDF.

  • John Korchok

    I realize this is an old article, but abebooks.com is now part of Amazon.

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