Easy Options Connect Authors to Indies

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Many an independent bookseller has been frustrated by authors and publishers who direct readers solely to Amazon.com or a chain retailer to purchase their books. But a growing number are now responding by directing those very same authors and publishers to the IndieBound.org Affiliate Program or one of several other simple methods designed for those not interested in receiving a commission on sales.

Ann Burlingham of Burlingham Books in Perry, New York, is one of those booksellers who doesn't sit idly by, but takes action. When she noticed Daniel Suarez's Daemon (Dutton) was a January Indie Next List Great Read, and then saw the author's site only linked to chain booksellers, she sent Suarez an e-mail pointing out the omission. "I tend to think people respond well to a personal note from an individual," Burlingham told BTW.

In her e-mail, Burlingham noted her disappointment that only the chains were represented. "I looked all over for any sign of a link to IndieBound.org, and found none," she said. "That's really too bad -- IndieBound is a great way to help readers connect not only to your book but to their own local source for it and other good books. I hope you will consider adding a link to help this happen."

Suarez responded via e-mail with a gracious mea culpa. "Considering that I'm a locavore and an ardent supporter of local, independent businesses, you're right to point out the glaring absence of an independent bookstore link on my website," he said, adding that Vroman's Bookshop in Pasadena was a favorite.

He also said, "I just checked out the IndieBound.org site, and it looks like a terrific resource for readers. I'd be more than happy to put up a link alongside the others," which he promptly did.

Burlingham said that her e-mails to other authors have yielded varying results. She was happy to see that, without being asked, Elizabeth Gilbert's site includes an IndieBound link, and that link led to several unexpected sales. "We had several direct hits from her site."

The Affiliate Program is just one option for linking to books through IndieBound.org. Authors who are not interested in receiving a commission on sales their sites refer may simply create a plain link to their book. Or, if authors prefer to send customers to a bookstore in person, they may link directly to the Indie Store Finder map.

To help spread the word about the IndieBound Affiliate Program, ABA has created a downloadable letter that booksellers can use to inform authors about the program and provide instructions on how to participate. The association also recently included information on the affiliate program in its Publisher Partners newsletter, which stressed to publishers that their authors can easily earn money while showing their support of independent booksellers. --Karen Schechner

Seven Easy Steps to Becoming
an IndieBound.org Affiliate

1. Visit IndieBound.org/Affliate to sign up.

2. Complete the Enrollment Form.

3. Review the Affiliate Agreement and click "Accept."

4. Within 48 hours, a unique Affiliate ID will arrive via e-mail.

5. Create the links from your site to ours with our Link Generator.

6. Readers buy your books from an indie bookstore they choose.

7. We monitor your traffic and sales while you earn referral fees.