Amazon Affiliates Burned At The Stake By Kindle?

Whilst the blogosphere has been ranting or raving about Amazon’s new Kindle Ebook reader, I have been sleeping on the idea.

Sure it is easy to earn yourself a quick $40 or whatever by promoting it, by dropping text links all over the place such as this one:-
Kindle: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device

Or you can use some other creatives such as a nice sidebar widget (might not show in a feed reader)

Amazon’s Success Is At Least In Part Their Affiliate Program

For years affiliates have been driving traffic to Amazon. They don’t get the benefit of recurring or lifetime commissions, the affiliate program is effectively make a sale on the visit or get nothing, but because the products were mass market, some people made a fair amount of money from Amazon, and many still do.

Will Kindle Kill Affiliate Sales Of Books?

If it is successful, it could certainly have an effect.

People who buy Kindle will be the mass consumers of information, the people who buy a lot of books, especially people who have taken training to read faster such as I did at Rich Schefren’s Acceleration 2 Seminar, assuming Kindle has the features to allow faster reading.

These aren’t your “one book for Christmas” types, these are people who buy 20 books because they are going on a trip somewhere, or researching a specific topic over a few days.

Kindle Is A Direct To Amazon Sales Cycle

Amazon is cutting out the middle man. Just because you might make a $40 sale now, those people who buy the device for $400 are quite possibly no longer going to generate affiliate revenue.

It is quite possible that such people go to Amazon direct, but they are also the kind that might be influenced by a review of one book somewhere on the web, go to Amazon following an affiliate link, and buy 20 related books.

I have been monitoring the discussion around Kindle, I know Robert Scoble has mentioned making money from people reading his blog on Kindle (30% ?) but that seems like it might be only a select few. We are not going to see “Subscribe On Kindle” buttons on the vast majority of blogs any time soon.

  • I would have expected Amazon to provide a lot more information on Kindle to Affiliates and what it means to them if there was a money making opportunity (not just selling the device).
  • I would expect residual earnings for selling a device which will provide a residual income for Amazon.

How does this launch affect other players in the ebook market such as Clickbank?

I keep reasonably close tabs on the affiliate marketing industry, and I haven’t seen anyone rejoicing the introduction of Kindle. Have I missed something?

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  1. says

    Thanks Andy for the heads up on Kindle. I am an embryonic Amazon affiliate and have heard nothing about Kindle until today. As you say it looks like a hi tec affiliate killer.I guess we just wait to be told more, with your good self leading the charge.

  2. says

    I’ve been getting caught up on this issue recently and I have to agree. I don’t like it either. Partially because it appears like it might hurt me as an Amazon Affiliate, but also because I do not see a significant value for the end user. At $400 a pop and $9.99 a book and $0.99 a RSS feed, it seems Amazon is trying to squeeze maximum profit from a very limited service. There are a lot cheaper ways to have digital content on the go… in full color at that!

  3. SEO Buzz Box says

    I have been doing book reviews to build content for my websites, book reviews are difficult and personal. Book reviews take time and money. This is troubling news but like John, I have never heard of it, hopefully others will also not pay much attention. On the other hand, I have been emailed by a few folks who liked my book reviews, this shows that there are some who still enjoy reading what others have to say about a book they have read.

    Man, with Google pushing down the organic serps to replace it with universal search widgets and now this it is getting a little sad out here. ;-(


    • says

      There has been nothing other than Kindle on Techmeme for the last 2 days really other than Kindle – they gave Newsweek an exclusive on Sunday, and lots of Tech bloggers got to go to the launch on Monday, and are being included in the feeds.

      For Amazon this is a big thing, much like the Ipod and Itunes for Apple, and a similar closed loop.

      As Amazon want to break into music sales, they create their own closed system – it isn’t pretty for affiliates, and I don’t think it will go away if we hide it.

  4. says

    I am amazed that the Kindle has anybody excited. I’ve been an Amazon affiliate since the 90’s and this thing did nothing but make me yawn.

    I just don’t see something like this ever becoming a mainstream product.

    It’s expensive and impractical.

    I buy lots of books and I like my books. You can throw them all around and they won’t break.

    This thing can’t go to the beach with me, unless I want to risk ruining it.

    I can’t read it when taking off and landing on a flight.

    I’m not going to promote it simply because I think it’s a toy for gadget geeks. No fear that it will bite into my affiliate commissions.

    This will revolutionize the book business just like the Segway changed the way we travel.

    • says

      There is certainly going to be a market for beach-proof covers for these things.

      Whilst I am not as fast at reading as many, a thick paperback isn’t going to last me a transatlantic flight.

      I believe the first iPods were also quite expensive, and they have gained traction.

      I actually hope that one of these devices does get traction and come down in price substantially, but I also hope that affiliates remain in the loop.

      If this takes off internationally, I know it will help students who sometimes have major problems buying or borrowing required books from libraries (at least here in Poland)

  5. says

    Andy, I personally do not think that the affiliates will see any significant drop for the very reason that you have mentioned. It is the impulse buyer who will buy a book using a link. Serious readers, like I flatter myself I am, know enough to go to the right place, including Amazon to purchase what they need.

    The bigger development that is likely to have a significant impact on how EVERYTHING works will be the launch of Android.

    If you could sleep over it and share your ideas on it, it will be very useful.

  6. says

    I believe the first iPods were also quite expensive, and they have gained traction.

    Apples and oranges. Walkmans and other personal stereos were already hugely popular before MP3 players.

    The iPod was just an evolution of the Walkman IMHO.

    If this takes off internationally, I know it will help students who sometimes have major problems buying or borrowing required books from libraries (at least here in Poland)

    Agreed that it could have a good application in that respect. Having worked with medical books sold online in the past, I know there is certainly a need internationally for those sorts of titles.

    But novels and the latest popular non-fiction? I don’t see it.

  7. SEO Buzz Box says

    If you do book reviews already will outrank you 99% of the time no matter how good yours is in Google. Google has it setup this way. So, the only value of book a review is to generate content for visitors and yes search engines. People buy a lot of books from my websites that only have a couple reviews on them…they browse into and buy a pile.

    Shawn Collins – I wouldn’t be so sure, if they market it correctly people are more than ready to do away with paper.

    Save a forest.


  8. says

    I’m going to echo some of the comments above. My prediction is that the Kindle will live about as long than the diVx DVD’s they were hawking a few years ago at Circuit City. This seems like a poor rush at a solid idea. At the very best the technology behind this will spurn better units in the future. As it stands now I wouldn’t try to find a 2nd job just yet all ye’ affliliates!

  9. says

    This is not the first digital book to be produced even if the marketing firm do have vast amounts of traction. They will have to overcome two inherent bias: (1) “Real books are made of paper” and (2) “Digital goods are just for geeks”.

    The value seekers will be looking to purchase the “real” thing because you can sell that again and the savvy geek will jack Linux onto a PDA and get the same content (give or take a bit) for free or next to free.

    If they can tap a “cool” vibe as iPod did then they have a chance of selling it to students who can ill afford it. However it seems to me this is a dead loss. I will be more surprised if it was a success and even if it is that will be only in the US and only parts thereof. (it needs wireless access).

  10. says

    The Kindle has been a huge success, selling some 340,000 units already. However, I bet most people to straight to Amazon to buy theirs (after all, it is the Amazon Kindle) rather than look around online for places to buy one like they would with a typical item. Then again, if Amazon thought they were selling enough, they wouldn’t be offering such generous commissions to affiliates.


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