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An affiliate program is a marketing tool that would allow approved participants to earn commissions by placing unique links on their website referring customers back to your website, increasing sales and traffic through your website. How does it work? Once you have accepted someone as an affiliate, they can set up links on their site that will drive traffic to your site. Customers who follow those links are tracked, and if a sale happens during that customer visit, the affiliate commissions are determined (In the end the store is responsible for paying the affiliates directly). For a sale to be 'eligible' the customer must follow the Affiliate link to your site, and complete placing their order without leaving the site.

NOTE: If the ‘Affiliate’ feature needs to be enabled for your site, please send us a request from the Store Features page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Features).


Navigate to: Store > Configuration > Affiliates > Contract Settings

  1. Review the ‘Affiliate agreement’ and make any necessary changes: Creating an affiliate program is essentially posting a public contract on your site for anyone to read and possibly partake in. Hence, it is important that you read this document thoroughly and make sure it fits the program you wish to offer.

    • The Agreement that is posted to your site by default will automatically fill in the name of the store wherever appropriate.
    • Make sure to select ‘Save Configuration’
  2. Review the ‘Email sent to new affiliates upon approval’ template: You may add any custom instructions or comments here but we recommend you leave in place the username and affiliate URL link we provide.
  3. Confirm the email address set to receive new affiliate application notices
  4. Save Configuration.
  5. Adjust the default commission rate: If you altered the contract's default 5% commission rate during step #1, you will need to select the ‘Commissions’ tab and make the same adjustment there as well. Make sure to save after making any changes.


Upload, using the file browser, the image you want to make available for the links. Instructions on how to do so can be found under ‘Adding Images’.

Navigate to: Store > Configuration > Affiliates > Banner/Links

  1. In the text area that says ‘Affiliate Banner Templates’, add the image(s) that you would like your affiliates to use as banner for the affiliate link

    • Example: <img src=""> - The ‘yoursitename’ should be replaced with the name of your website and the ‘nameofimage’ should be replaced with the name of the image file you uploaded. Example: <img src="">
  2. Provide the text you want to be displayed for the link in the ‘Affiliate Text Link Template’ - Example: Buy Books through ABA Test Bookstore!
  3. Select ‘Save Configuration’

In the Affiliate Center of each affiliate, there will be a ‘Banner Preview’ with the images and the banner code for use by the Affiliate.


Navigate to: Structure > Blocks

  1. Locate the ‘Affiliate’ block under the ‘Disabled’ section and select configure
  2. Enter a block title (optional)
  3. Select the region the block should be placed in
  4. Set your visibility settings (optional)

    1. Pages: You can determine which pages a block appears on. By default, we exclude some of the secure pages such as ‘cart’ for some blocks. However, you can adjust these settings to meet your site's needs.
    2. Content Types: If a particular block pertains only to a specific content type, you can set it to display only on nodes created using that content type. For instance, you might be offering a discount on books associated with events; therefore you would want the block detailing that discount to appear only on ‘Events’ page.
    3. Roles: You can also restrict blocks to members of specific roles. Perhaps you have created a block detailing staff discounts; you could restrict it to appear only for users logged in under a ‘Staff’ role.
    4. Users: You can allow your customer to determine whether or not they see a particular block when logged in. They control this setting on their ‘My Account’ page.      
  5. Save block    

The block is now enabled and visible on your site, allowing visitors to click the link and start the process of becoming an Affiliate.


Once the block is enabled any visitor may begin the affiliate application process.

  1. Select ‘Apply for Affiliate Now’
  2. Log in or create an account
  3. Select ‘Apply for Affiliate Now’
  4. Complete the application

    • Company Name
    • Web Site Name
    • Web Site URL
    • Brief description of Web Site
    • Full Name
    • Phone Number
    • Mailing address
    • Who checks should be made out to
  5. Read  and agree to the ‘Affiliate Agreement’
  6. Submit application


Navigate to: Store > Configuration > Affiliates > Affiliate Applications

  1. Select the 'username' and review the application submitted by that user, then return to the previous screen.
  2. Select the ‘Affiliate Applications’ tab and ‘Approve’ or ‘Deny’

    • If approved, an email is automatically sent to the affiliate letting them know that their application has been approved. They can then log into their account and begin generating affiliate links through the ‘Affiliate Center’ tab. They can either use the generic link code that will drive traffic to your home page, or they can input an ISBN and generate a specific link for that item.
    • If denied, the user will not be able to apply again.


Once approved, the affiliate can log into their account and access the ‘Affiliate Center’ on their ‘My Account’ page.

From the ‘Affiliate Center’, their next step should be to generate their affiliate links and then place those links on their website.

Types of Affiliate links:

  • Generic text link - Example:
  • Banner link* - Example: <a href=""><img src=""></a>
  • ISBN specific - Example:
  • Custom: You can work with the affiliate to create a custom page on your site that they link directly to. For instance, you could create a book list for them and append their unique affiliate id to the link. Examples:

    • Without affiliate association:
    • With affiliate association:

*In order to generate an affiliate link wrapped around the store's logo (or any image that you allow), the image should be uploaded through your Affiliate settings. If you haven’t already done so, please review the instructions above under ‘Add the Banner Image’ and upload your images.


If a customer clicks on a link placed on the affiliate's website, the customer will be brought to your site, and the system will immediately begin “tracking” them.  If they make a purchase during that visit, a referral fee will be calculated by the system, in favor of your affiliate (by default, this would be 5% of net proceeds from any particular qualifying sale.) Keep in mind that if the customer leaves your site for any reason before completing their purchase, the “session” would end, and the referral fee will not be calculated. The customer must complete the sale after following the affiliate link, and before leaving the site.

Each order completed using an affiliate link will have an admin comment indicating the affiliate user id. 

While the site will automatically calculate the necessary referral fees and keep track of them in a report, it is up to the store to check the report on a regular basis to see if any particular Affiliate needs to be paid and thus provide payment to the Affiliate. You can check the report by navigating to Store > Configuration > Affiliates > Reports. Once paid, you may update your report by selecting ‘update’ under the ‘Paid’ column for that Affiliate and entering payment. To see specific details, such as a list of orders for the affiliate, select the affiliate username on the ‘Manage’ tab and then ‘More Details’.

The Affiliate may track their commission through My Account >Affiliate Center > Commission.


  • Build relationships with your local community online. Being a local, independent bookstore puts you in a position to provide a better Affiliate experience than larger chains. For instance, you could promise a local author that you will always have two copies of their title in stock. If the author is amenable, you might also be able to offer signed copies, even personally inscribed.
  • Driving traffic to your site increases search rankings, which is just one way an Affiliate program can help you.
  • In the default contract, stores are not required to pay an Affiliate until that Affiliate has accrued $50 or more in referral fees.  However, you may choose to pay Affiliates what they have earned at any time.
  • Authors are not the only possible resource. Consider your local school district, for example. If the school system has a website where they are posting a summer reading list, you can let the school know that if they link to you, you will make sure that you have 2 copies of each book in stock at all times and that the school will receive the referral fee. Some schools may just need a reliable link for their students and may decline the referral fee.


You can also use the Affiliate feature for creating a ‘Partnership’ page for local schools or businesses.

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The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.


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