People read for lots of reasons.
Some do it for entertainment, while others do it because they have to for their college course.
And some read to their kids because their parents read to them when they were younger.
The fact remains that the written word is still incredibly important to people all over the world.
And that’s why we’re not surprised that the book industry is worth US$119 billion per year.
The problem is that it can be difficult to build a profitable affiliate site just around this topic.
But if you put your Authority Hacker hat on, you’ll find there are multiple ways to approach this problem.
You just need the right variety of affiliate programs to promote.
Book Affiliate Programs
- Indigo Books Affiliate Program
- Textbook Solutions Affiliate Program
- Barnes & Noble Affiliate Program
- Bigger Books Affiliate Program
- Thrift Books Affiliate Program
- Second Sale Book Affiliate Program
- Calendar Club Affiliate Program
- Eagle Saver Book Affiliate Program
- Vital Source Book Affiliate Program
- Premier Collectibles Affiliate Program
Indigo is – in their own words – Canada’s biggest bookstore.
And although we have no way to prove that, they have been around in one form or another since 1940.
So they obviously know what they’re doing because they’ve weathered everything from the dotcom bust to digital downloads and the Kindle.
And while they place special emphasis on being a leading supplier of books for kids, they also stock tens of thousands of fiction and non-fiction titles for teens and adults.
This affiliate program pays between 2% and 10% on referred sales, which is confusing.
But here’s how it breaks down – you’ll make 5% for every book you sell, but you can earn 10% if a referral signs up for the Indigo rewards program.
Apart from that, all their affiliate metrics are where you want them to be.
URL: Indigo (Chapters)
EPC: $43.89 (CAD)
Cookie duration: 7 days
Textbook Solutions is the brainchild of two Texas A&M students who spotted a gap in the education market way back in 2007.
And it was simply this: Textbooks were getting ridiculously expensive.
In fact, the average college or university student spends up to US$1,200 each year on required reading material.
So they set up a textbook rental business, saving students up to 90% on the cost of actually buying the book.
Oh, and they also buy textbooks, so you can cash in those old tomes you no longer need.
We’re going to start with the things we don’t like about this affiliate program – the 1-day cookie is avoidably annoying i.e. they could change it.
But what we love is that it’s in the top 50 offers on the ShareASale affiliate network (44) and it also has an impressive EPC considering we’re just talking about renting textbooks.
URL: Textbook Solutions
Cookie duration: 1 day
Barnes & Noble
And here we have another survivor of the digital reading revolution- Barnes & Noble.
They actually adapted better than most, releasing their Nook e-reader to compete with the Kindle.
And their analog book business has been doing well too – claiming the title of the #1 bookseller in the United States, with 1 million titles in stock at any one time.
They seem to stay competitive by offering not just novels and kids books, but student textbooks too.
Because there’s still a strong market for printed books, despite what people think.
You’re unlikely to retire on what you make referring new customers to Barnes & Noble – they pay 2% affiliate commission.
And their EPC is far from massive.
The only reasons they go over the line here are:
- Brand name – you won’t even have to work to promote them
- Their ‘Network’ Earnings score says their affiliates are making money
So, promote them via their affiliate program, but don’t go exclusive with them.
URL: Barnes & Noble
Cookie duration: 1 day
Bigger Books had been one of the leading e-tailers of used and new college textbooks from 2001 to 2014.
That was the year they began to offer a textbook rental option, simply because many students were unable to afford the textbooks they needed for the coming semesters.
But they also offer a full range of eTextbooks, replacing heavy books with e-reader files.
And they’re also more than happy to buy your existing used textbooks from you, easing the cost of investing in them in the first place.
This affiliate marketing program pays a 5.5% commission on all textbook sales and rentals, with an average payout of $4.98 per transaction.
Their ‘Power Rank’ score and EPC tell you that they have a lot of affiliates making money.
And there’s also the tiny detail that they have an 18% conversion rate.
URL: Bigger Books
Commission: Up to 6.5%
Cookie duration: 30 days
I became a big fan of buying used books about a decade ago when I checked off a major bucket list item – spend a year reading.
Used books became my “go-to” because I could buy an entire box of them for what I’d pay for a single new hardback novel.
Unfortunately, I didn’t know about ThriftBooks back then, even though they’ve grown to become the biggest online retailer of used books in the United States.
As of the time of writing they have 7 million books in stock, including everything from kids classics to the latest fiction thrillers, as well as rare and collectible items too.
You’re not sure how you can sell used books to your audience?
Tell them reading previously owned books lowers their carbon footprint.
Which is entirely true.
As an affiliate, you’ll receive a 5% commission on every purchase your visitors make.
But you can get an 8% cut if you refer more than $10,000 worth of sales each month.
It’s always nice to see a vendor offering a sliding scale to top-performers because it encourages other affiliates to really push themselves to break through to the next level.
Cookie duration: 7 days
Two things popped out at me when I landed on the homepage of used book specialists, Second Sale.
- They have the ugliest header I’ve seen in years
- They have over 10 million used books in stock
But you should never judge a book by its cover – we explain why a little later.
They’re quite happy to sell your visitors books for as little as $3.78.
But they’re also equally happy to buy used books from your visitors, or anyone else for that matter.
And they also offer free standard shipping on pretty much every book they have in stock.
Now, while we criticized their header for being ugly, these guys convert 30%+ of their traffic into affiliate sales.
If you’re not sure if that’s good or bad, take my word for it – it’s exceptional.
So although you might think their website looks dated or messy, they’re keeping their new and existing customers very, very happy.
And that’s far more important than a few design issues.
URL: Second Sale
Cookie duration: 90 days
Yes, yes I know it says Calendar Club.
And no, they don’t only sell Calendars.
In fact, they’re kind of a family-oriented bookstore, with lots of entertainment and educational titles for kids.
But they also have lifestyle and motivation books for adults.
I like how they’ve categorized their books, where you can choose from specific authors, activities like bedtime books, or even just the style of book you want to read – humor, sports, travel, entertainment, etc.
A nice touch is that they have both US and UK stores, so they’re suitable for a regional audience, or an international one.
Affiliates are paid a 5% commission on all books sold, but you’ll receive a 10% cut of any incidental calendar purchases.
Something else worth noting is that they offer a 45-day cookie, which is 44 days more than some of the other affiliate programs listed there.
I mean, who doesn’t offer at least a 7-day cookie these days?
URL: Calendar Club
Commission: Up to 10%
Cookie duration: 45 days
Eagle Saver has no interest in selling you anything.
Instead, they want to buy your used books (as well as CDs, DVDs, and games) from you for cash money.
And that includes a single copy of a book, or even if you happen to have boxes of the same title – they have a special “bulk checkout” option for that.
You also don’t have to wait around to get paid – the money will be in your PayPal or checking account 24 hours after Eagle Saver receives your books.
If you’re worried about shipping costs then don’t be – you choose either FedEx or UPS and print out your shipping label. Eagle Saver takes the financial hit there for you.
The website looks and feels dated, but how are their affiliates doing?
Their affiliates are doing very well thanks to the 28% conversion rate, 5% commission, and a 45-day cookie.
What more could you want from an affiliate program?
Well, apart from being paid to do absolutely nothing, which is highly unlikely.
URL: Eagle Saver
Cookie duration: 45 days
You could invest in a small mountain of paper textbooks for your college course.
Or you could choose to save the trees and buy eTextbook versions from Vital Source instead.
The cost involved with buying textbooks can result in some students simply doing without, which then impacts their grades.
With Vital Source, students can choose the exact eTextbooks they need, but at up to 80% off regular prices.
This is possible because this company has relationships with 7,000 educational institutions, 500 stores, and 1,000 publishers.
So they can negotiate for better prices on behalf of students everywhere.
Your traffic will need to have a large percentage of students for you to properly monetize this offer.
But if you do, then you can make a neat 3% commission for every customer you send their way.
And you have 30 days for that interested visitor to turn into a paid lead.
URL: Vital Source
Cookie duration: 30 days
And we end this roundup with a pretty cool business – Premier Collectibles, purveyors of all types of rare and collective books.
Now, if you’re a book nerd (like me), you probably dream of the day you’ll be browsing in a used book store, only to find a signed first edition of “The Hobbit”.
Okay, that’s probably never going to happen….but I can dream, right?
In the meantime, Premier Collectibles just might have the autographed first edition of a book you want.
Or a signed copy of a book by the favorite author of a loved one.
Either way, this is one of those truly unique affiliate programs that can be fun and profitable to promote.
Autographed books and first editions are often valued in the hundreds, but sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars.
And regardless of what the value of the book is, you’ll receive a 15% commission for each transaction.
Which could be hundreds of dollars for selling a single book.
URL: Premier Collectibles
Cookie duration: 60 days
Over to You
As you can see, affiliate programs for book lovers are a bit of a mixed bag.
On one hand, huge companies offer a 2% commission rate and 1-day cookie.
Meanwhile, book companies you’ve never heard of before today (probably) are paying 2x – 5x as much commission, offer a 45-day cookie, and have way better performance metrics.
That’s why we tried to add as much variety to the offers as possible while still providing you with profitable affiliate programs to promote.
Now, we have a treat for you if you’d like to learn exactly how you make money with these programs.
You can sign up for our free training webinar on how to build out your first affiliate site.
That’s 20 years of industry experience condensed into two short hours.
Just tell us where to send your invite and we’’ take care of the rest.