Los Gatos, Calif., May 26, 2009 -- Smashwords, an independent publisher, distributor and retailer of ebooks, today introduced the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program. The program allows bloggers, authors, readers, publishers, website operators, online specialty bookstores and professional affiliate marketers to receive commissions of 11 percent or more simply by linking to Smashwords ebooks.
“Our mission at Smashwords is to help authors and publishers publish, promote and sell their ebooks,” said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. “The Smashwords Affiliate Marketing Program will help authors and publishers expand their digital shelf space while providing affiliate marketers the opportunity to profit from the rapid rise of electronic books.”
According to the Association of American Publishers(AAP), ebooks are the fastest growing segment of book publishing today. Ebooks experienced a compound annual growth rate of 58 percent per year for the last six years, versus an overall industry growth rate of 1.6 percent. In recent months, the growth of ebooks has accelerated to over 100 percent while print books have declined, according to the AAP (source: http://www.publishers.org).
Smashwords launched 12 months ago as an ebook publishing platform and online bookstore for self-published authors. Today, Smashwords publishes 1,400 ebooks from over 600 authors. Earlier this month, Smashwords expanded its focus to include publishers as well.
With brick and mortar bookselling in decline, authors and publishers must replace physical shelf space with digital shelf space. The new Smashwords affiliate system will help authors and publishers significantly expand the online distribution, promotion and selling opportunities for their ebooks. As Amazon proved with its own highly successful Amazon Associates affiliate program, bookselling translates well to the Internet, especially when an online retailer can harness the collective selling power of hundreds of thousands of affiliates.
Ebooks are even more suitable to online selling than print books, since digital books are much easier to showcase, sample and sell online. With Smashwords ebooks, for example, customers can often sample up to 50 percent of the ebook for free, so they can try before they buy. With a few clicks, the customer can instantly purchase and download the book in multiple DRM-free formats, readable on their iPhone, Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle or any other e-reading device.
Much to the chagrin of affiliate marketers, Amazon earlier this year removed Kindle ebooks from their Amazon Associates affiliate program. Amazon’s program change means that many affiliate marketers are driving ebook customer traffic to Amazon for which the affiliate receives no commission.
“We hope to fill a small part of the ebook void for affiliate marketers,” added Mark Coker. “While we offer only a fraction of Amazon’s content, we do offer a broad selection of over 1,400 independently published ebooks in a wide range of genres and subject matters. Many of our books aren’t available anywhere else.”
Unique “Juicing” Feature Allows Authors to Increase Affiliate Commissions
Affiliates receive minimum commissions of 11 percent of the net selling price on all participating ebook titles. “Net” to the affiliate is calculated as (selling price - PayPal fee)*.11.
Authors and publishers can “juice” their affiliate rates so that affiliates have greater incentive to promote their books. This will allow for affiliate commissions as high as 81.5 percent for authors and publishers who want to sweeten the promotional appeal of their books to participating affiliates.
For a complete overview of the Smashwords Affiliate Marketing program, and to learn what it means to authors, publishers and affiliates alike, read the online documentation and the Affiliate Program Terms of Service.
For professional affiliates experienced in web design and web services, Smashwords offers an API through which developers can access book titles, book samples and associated metadata.
Future Enhancements Planned
Over the next few months, Smashwords will introduce several enhancements to the Smashwords Affiliate Program. Anticipated enhancements include widgets, improved book filtering, improved affiliate reporting and metrics, and a new online service code-named “Smashwords Foundry.”
About Smashwords, Inc.
Launched in 2008, privately held Smashwords operates a digital publishing platform and online book store for independent ebook authors, publishers and their readers. The free service puts authors and publishers in full control over the publishing, pricing and marketing of their works. In addition to receiving exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential readers on the Smashwords web site and via distribution on Stanza, authors and publishers receive up to 85% of the net proceeds from sales of their works. For readers, Smashwords offers the opportunity to discover exciting new voices in fiction and non-fiction. Smashwords, Inc. is based in Los Gatos, California, and can be reached on the web at http://www.smashwords.com/. Visit the official Smashwords blog at http://blog.smashwords.com/