I’m a book junkie. I admit it: I’m drawn to buy books of all types, shapes, and sizes, and have my excuses lined up for why I should buy each one.
I should buy…
- …books at conferences, because I’m supporting the speakers, and because I can get signed copies.
- …books for ongoing research, because the library makes me return them too quickly.
- …books that are written beautifully, because I will return to them again and again.
- …books that aren’t written beautifully but are nonetheless successful, because I will analyze what makes them work.
- …zombie books, because I need to follow the latest trends in literature.
- …new releases, because I need to keep abreast of current publications–and those are hard to check out of the library.
- …nonfiction picture books, because I write nonfiction and need to study other authors’ techniques.
- …bestsellers, because I need to figure out what makes them work.
- …writing books, because they help me grow as a writer.
- …self-help books, because they help me grow as a person.
- …marketing books, because I should be doing more marketing.
- …books on crochet, because they have the best crochet patterns and inspiration.
- …other nonfiction books, because I’m interested in the topics and might write about them someday.
The arrival of the Kindle and Amazon’s "Click-to-Buy" program has been a problem for my bank account.
But the other day, I read something very, very interesting and extraordinarily tempting to a book junkie such as myself: Can you make money blogging without selling your soul?
Like most of you, I don’t blog to make money. I started blogging because writers “ought to” have a blog, build a platform, and all that jazz; I kept at it because I love connecting with other writers, love the conversations that arise, and love knowing that sometimes, I’m able to help others out there. I combined my blog with my website because it gives me a place to share writing samples with people who might want to hire me, but the blog—well, that’s all about community, and I wouldn’t want to subject my community to random ads and annoying pop-ups and such.
But Jeff Goins’ post (above) made me realize that I often recommend books I find helpful, just as many other bloggers recommend books they have enjoyed. And I often purchase books based on others’ recommendations. As a member of Amazon’s affiliate marketing program, Goins receives some small compensation whenever a reader clicks to Amazon to purchase a book he recommended.
I have to say, I find the idea attractive.* I’m going to recommend books anyway; some of you are going to purchase them anyway. The ethical question that arises, of course, is whether I—or other bloggers—might recommend something because I get a kick-back. Can readers still trust such recommendations? I would like to think the answer is yes. Sure, there’s an incentive for bloggers to try to pitch more products to earn more money, but I think readers can tell whether a blog exists solely to bring in a buck or whether is has a genuine mission.
What do you think? Would you consider joining Amazon’s affiliate program to link to the books you recommend? Why or why not?
*Ironically, after all that, I won’t be participating in Amazon’s program: it seems that certain states are ineligible. My reading recommendations will remain as opinionated and biased as ever, but not by the hope of profit from Amazon