Monday, 24 May 2021

Bookstores - How to cash-in on ebooks!

Bookshops everywhere are worried. There's a revolution going on and they are losing sales because of it. The revolution is that of ebooks!

Oh I know there are those who say 'I love the feel and smell of a proper book' but these are mostly people who have not yet got an ebook reader. Once these people have got their hands on one it doesn't take long for them to change their minds. That means fewer sales of paper books.

Yet we all still like going to the library and browsing the books in a bookstore. Having found the book we like do we then buy the paper format or simply make a note of it and look it up at Amazon later to get it in ebook format? I have to admit, I've done the latter many times but felt guilty that I've denied the bookseller a profit from the sale. He/she has, after all, helped me in my book purchase.

So how can the bookstore make money from ebooks? I think there is an answer, and one which is simple to put in practice.

How a bookstore can cash-in on ebooks

(Authors - read this and the bit at the bottom too.)

The bookseller makes use of Amazon's affiliate program (or better still - Smashwords.) Here's how to do this:
  1. If you, the bookseller, have not already joined Amazon's associate program then sign up for it at:
    UK -
    US -
    Ca -
  2. If you do not have a Twitter account then sign up for that at
  3. Add the site stripe to your Amazon account
  4. On your computer navigate to a book's page at Amazon and click the Twitter button on the associate site stripe toolbar
    Copy the text as far as the 'via@...
  5. Paste that text into a QL generator page on Internet. I use the QR Code generator at
    At this stage you can edit the text to include the price and any other details you wish to include.
  6. Copy the QR code generated and paste it into Word for further editing as follows:
  7. Print this out on a self adhesive label and fix it inside the back cover (or on the back if there's space). You might also need to make a few posters advertising your ebook service and where the customer can get a free QR code scanner app for their mobile phone. (Try QR Droid
Customers browsing your books can scan the QR codes and buy the books immediately using Amazon's 'one touch'. You get the commission on the sale. 

Of course there is no reason why this should be restricted to using Amazon as an ebook provider. If an author comes into your store promoting his/her books negotiate a deal with them to sell their ebooks through Smashwords - Not only do they support more reading devices but they provide a higher royalty rate to the author - 85% and the affiliate rate can be set so that you get a higher commission on the sale than you would get from Amazon 30-40% would seem fair. Creating affiliate links to Smashwords books is ridiculously simple compared to Amazon links too. I give a 35% rate on all my ebooks there

You might even end up making more money from ebooks than you do from paper books and you won't have to do a thing at the till!

Now the bit for Authors

Consider getting some bookmarks printed on thin card which you can give away free to bookstores, libraries and elsewhere. You can create a QR code to add to the bottom. Bookstores can print a label to replace this with their own QR code which would give them an affiliate fee if someone downloads a book. You might even offer to print personalized bookmarks for individual bookstores/libraries.

Here's some examples I produced to be printed on thin card using a colour laser printer. Once printed they can be guillotined apart. I get seven bookmarks per A4 sheet.

The bookstore can give these away when someone buys a paper book. Readers like them!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tip! I'm not too hot on Amazon because they don't treat business partners very fairly. I'll definitely check out Smashwords as an alternative.



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