In support of our core bookstores that are selling books online and hosting affiliate programs, and to encourage those who are not, SIBA began June 1 of this year to include purchase options that will direct sell selected titles to consumer on the consumer website, www.authorsroundthesouth.com (ARTS) and in the Lady Banks’ Commonplace Books Newsletter via core member affiliate programs. All core bookstore members with affiliate programs will be represented across the selected titles in a fair and thoughtful manner. SIBA launched the online buy options with the Summer Okra Picks, 2010 SIBA Book Award Finalists & Winners, and the books on Lady Banks’ Bookshelf. Any money realized from book sales will be applied to the further maintenance of the consumer site and outreach to consumers on behalf of SIBA’s core members.
How are sales funneled to stores?
To begin with, SIBA willenable purchasing options on ARTS when appropriate whereever a book jacket image is used. Buy links will alternate betweenthe core member bookstores that offer affiliate programs. To date, those stores are Inkwood Books in Florida, The Regulator Bookstore in North Carolina, and Fountain Bookstore in Virginia. We are awaiting confirmation from City Lights in North Carolina. If you have an affiliate program and are not one of these stores, please contact us asap. We visited every member bookstore website and found only these.. Those with ABA eCommerce sites certainly have affiliate program capabilities.We want to participate in any affiliate programs core members offer.
What is an affiliate program and how do you create one?
An affiliate is like having your own sales force and off site sales post. Someone with a Web site wants to sell books and wants to use your shopping cart system to do it. In return for handling their sales, you give them a small piece of the sale. Basically, it’s like having someone selling books for you.
ABA’s IndieBound Web site does have an affiliate component, so it’s a good general solution for authors and bloggers who need an alternative to Amazon for their sites, and it is brilliant at promoting the importance of indies to authors, bloggers, and the industry as a whole. , But its last job is to sell books for your store.
But by creating an affiliate program specifically for your site, then ALL the sales that come from your affiliates will only go to you. It is like raising kids. You send them to school, daycare, camp, all of great benefit for your children, but in the end, you are their only advocate. SIBA wants to be the camp you go to with the understanding that you must be your own store’s advocate. SIBA is begging you – Find away to create an affiliate program for your store’s website.
There are 3 steps to creating an affiliate program:
- The first is you have to have a way to buy books online. There are hundreds of ways to do this from free to expensive, but basically you need a shopping cart on your site.. A way for consumers to put your books in to their cart for purchase from someone else’s website. Some examples of shopping cart services would be the ABA’s eCommerce package, VirtueMart, ZenCart, and PayPal. There are literally hundreds of possibilities.
- The second is you must have a way to get your books and their bibliographic materials up on the web. This is where Amazon has paved the way and set the standard. For independent booksellers, the ABA’s eCommerce option remains the best solution I’ve found that both provides a robust database of book data and allows for booksellers to make the bulk of the income from each purchase. Other shopping cart systems would require you to upload all your product data, but ABA eCommerce has all that data installed and constantly updated. Also, the eCommerce solution comes with an Affiliate option built in. Take a serious look at this solution if your online shopping cart program does not offer an Affiliate option.
- The third step is implementing the Affiliate Program. The best way to think of this is as a free sales force out on the World Wide Web. These are people who want to sell your books on their websites to a whole new realm of potential customers for you. You only pay them when they sell books and you determine the percentage you want them to receive. Affiliate agreements can range from the extremely casual to the extremely formal. It can be as simple as an agreement that all links go to your site, or as complicated as a contract that tracks all traffic from the affiliate to your site and pays a commission on any books sold. But in the end, it is up to you how you’d like to structure your program.
This is where bloggers, authors, publishers, all come in. Just like you put together an events kit that let’s publishers know why they should send an author to your bookstore, put together an affiliate kit as to why someone should affiliate with your bookstore. You can offer links back to their sites, you can offer them content, interviews with authors that come to your store, or Early Bird information about events. There are so many things. Being able to click on a book jacket to buy the book is standard practice. Let SIBA know your obstacles and challenges and we will do our level best to assist you.