Should I Sign Up For Amazon Associates?

Around since 1996, Amazon’s affiliate program was one of the first online affiliate programs to help other businesses make money on the internet. Historically, it’s definitely one of the most successful affiliate marketing programs as well. 

As someone who mentions books quite a bit on this blog, I’ve recently been toying with the idea of linking the books to Amazon. (Sometimes I’ve done this anyway while helping readers to find the books.) 

If I sign up for the Amazon Associates program, I’d actually be paid if blog readers purchased the book (or anything else after browsing via my link.)

Why Did I Turn This Into an Existential Question?

Some of you may wonder why I waited so long and whether I’m overthinking this. Other people support themselves this way, the books I recommend are mostly fantastic (my opinion), and monetizing a blog is nothing new.

All this being said, I write about creative small business endeavors, and Amazon definitely doesn’t represent the small businesses I support. 

I’ve seen other bloggers discuss this online, and found Bookshop and Indiebound as alternatives.

Making a Decision Using the Experiences of Others

While thinking this over, I listened to a great podcast about it where a guest called in to ask if Amazon’s Affiliate program is worth it.

The podcaster (Chris Guillebeau) certainly sold me on its simplicity and the idea that people can buy other items through the link. With the other book vendors, if someone doesn’t want the specific book I link to, chances are they won’t buy anything else. Also, I was a little concerned with the efficiency of setting it up while checking out this thread:

Maria Popova? An Example?

A lot of you know that I love Maria Popova’s blog and enjoy learning about her experiences blogging about interesting information and history. 

In one interview I listened to, she was asked about using Amazon Affiliates. She basically referenced how Amazon was first an online book seller. Then she spouted out some interesting statistics about how Amazon helps get books around the world and anything that gets people to read is a good thing. She didn’t feel the need to get into other ethical concerns about Amazon. 

However, here’s an example of how much people attack her about monetizing her blog with such a big company. 

Choices, Choices

As someone in need of efficiency and only wanting to balance one affiliate program for now, Amazon would make sense. Chances are I won’t be making much from it anyway (notice my blog image today was a man picking up a penny). 

After reading this post? I figure why even bother.

Either way, to monetize this blog, I would be going back through all of my posts that mention books to rework them and link them to an affiliate program. I thought I’d include you as a reader while making this decision. I like to let you in on my thought-process, and I’d love to know if you have any strong opinions about it. Maybe Patreon or Kickstarter really is my best bet while raising money for an album?

What do you think? Would being associated with Amazon weigh on my conscience? Do you have any experience with Amazon Associates or the other book affiliates mentioned here?


4 Replies to “Should I Sign Up For Amazon Associates?”

  1. i signed up for it but i don’t have much traffic on top of not knowing what i’m doing. i did manage to put up an ad for my favorite mayonnaise, duke’s. i might take the amazon stuff down and try to sell some affiliate stuff from c.j. affiliate.

    it’s not like i’m looking to get rich from this but at least the google adsense will get me 10-20 bucks a month to annoy my readers. i find it more educational than anything in case i might want to really try to make more popular and boring website one day. good luck.

    1. Nice approach. You at least deserve to break even! I’ve never noticed or been annoyed by your ads – but I’m not the most observant or picky about the look of a site!

      I look at this as an experiment too. I’ve learned so much in case I make a different and more specific site someday!

  2. Like you mention, the first question is if you want to monetize your site and, if yes, then how? As a reader, I prefer the affiliate route as it’s subtle and as Freddy says doesn’t “annoy” people like that blinky Adsense junk.

    I’m an Amazon shareholder, so it wouldn’t bother me and if the true intent is to help people actually get the book, well Amazon is the best bet in my opinion. Frankly one can lionize or talk trash on anything, so go with an affiliate that you believe in and also is fair about providing a cut of the action you generate for them.

    1. Thanks for throwing in your opinion. I don’t think I will bother to monetize much at this point. I’m not driven by too much of one thing let alone feeling comfortable with it yet. Monetizing only through my own books and music helps me feel like a “purist.” You are right – people can talk trash on anything… probably even my own stuff!

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