Giving Authors & Publishers an Easy Indie Affiliate Option

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Participation in's Affiliate Program, which pays generous commissions on sales referred to ABA IndieCommerce sites, has been growing steadily. Last week, in fact, the Huffington Post became one of the newest affiliates ... but not without encouragement from a number of indie booksellers as well as ABA.

The chorus of indie bookseller voices was crucial in getting this done, said ABA Chief Marketing Officer Meg Smith. ABA staff has contacted the Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, and hundreds of other sites/blogs/papers to ask them to join the affiliate program, she explained, "however, the voices of indie booksellers who handsell and host authors in their stores are the most effective in getting authors, publishers, and bloggers to change their ways."

"I have made it a point to send a link to the Affiliate Program every time I see that it's not included somewhere," said Joe Foster of Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colorado. "Generally, the author is embarrassed at the oversight and immediately adds the link. Just be sure to do it gently, and they'll generally be receptive to hearing it."

Before an author on tour comes into a bookstore is an optimal time to have a discussion with a publicist about having the Affiliate Program added to the author's and publisher's websites or blogs, said Smith. And Roger Doeren of Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kansas, concurs. "We are supporting authors through events, so it's only right for them to support us," Doeren told BTW. For the past several years, the bookstore has had a policy requiring authors who wish to do business with Rainy Day Books to include an independent affiliate link on their websites, and every author who has appeared at Rainy Day Books since then has featured a link to independent bookstores on his or her site.

The affiliate program offers a unique indie bookstore option for authors, publishers, and bloggers who promote sales of books on their websites. The program provides all of the tools needed to easily link to hundreds of independent bookstore websites offering more than 3.5 million titles. And, Smith stressed, "The Affiliate Program allows bloggers to express their commitment to free speech, diversity, and shopping locally."

To help booksellers promote the Affiliate Program, ABA has created a letter in PDF format, which booksellers can copy and distribute, and the Affiliate Page includes all the necessary links and information to get started. In addition, questions about IndieBound may be addressed to IndieBound Outreach Liaison Paige Poe at or (800) 637-0037, ext 6668.

Through the Affiliate Program:

  • Affiliates can link to any page on, such as the Indie Next List, the results of a book search, or a Wish List.
  • When a consumer follows an affiliate's link, sets a session cookie in their browser. This cookie ensures that the affiliate receives credit for additional sales generated through the visit, not just for the landing page.
  • The URL syntax for affiliate links makes it easy for affiliates to code their own links, or automate the process of creating links on their blog or website.
  • Affiliate IDs are connected to user accounts on, so it's easy for affiliates to update their own contact and payment information.
  • Attractive, flexible JavaScript widgets are available in variety of shapes and sizes with a completely customizable palette of colors.

The IndieBound Affiliate Program passes sales through to bookstore websites participating in ABA IndieCommerce. "In order for the affiliate to receive credit for any sales that result, the bookseller's site must track the affiliate's data and report it back to," Web Content Coordinator Matt Supko explained. "Currently, ABA IndieCommerce sites are the only websites capable of doing this."

Visitors to who do not follow affiliate links also have the option to buy through other e-commerce-capable independent bookseller websites. All ABA Member stores appear, along with links to their websites, on the Indie Store Finder map, in the site search, and elsewhere on --Rosemary Hawkins

Seven Easy Steps to Becoming
an Affiliate

1. Visit 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.