After a few months of careful consideration/dithering/hemming and hawing, I’ve added a few bookseller links to my site’s page for The Day-Glo Brothers.
I’ve wondered whether these links are even necessary. After all, doesn’t pretty much everybody know how and where to buy books online? And if I did provide links to some retailers, I wondered, how would I justify not linking to others?
Finally, I decided that although most if not all visitors to my site will indeed know some places where they can buy books online, they may not think of their local (nor not-so-local, but eager-to-ship) independent bookseller. So the first link I provided is to IndieBound, for reasons that can’t be stated often enough:
Why support independents?
When you shop at an independently-owned business, your entire community benefits:
– Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43.
– Local businesses create higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.
– More of your taxes are reinvested in your community–where they belong.
– Buying local means less packaging, less transportation, and a smaller carbon footprint.
– Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money to beautify your community.
– Local retailers are your friends and neighborsâ€”support them and they’ll support you.
– Local businesses donate to charities at more than twice the rate of national chains.
– More independents means more choice, more diversity, and a truly unique community.
It also helps that IndieBound offers an easy-to-join affiliate program, which means that I’ll get a little piece of each sale, a commission for the referral to go with my royalty as the author. Amazon.com has made its affiliate program simple as well, and the supplemental content surrounding the books it sells can’t be beat, so linking to Amazon seemed obvious.
That certainly wasn’t the case with Barnes & Noble and Borders, both of whose affiliate programs come off as complex and onerous and hardly worth the time for an author or illustrator to sign up for. But I linked to them anyway. Why? Because some folks are in the habit of buying books online from them, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for visitors to my site to get a copy of my book from the most likely sellers.
Still, it’s no accident that the first bookseller link is to “a local bookstore”…
Inspired by this post over at ShelfTalker, I’ve changed my mind. Here’s what I wrote in the comments there:
I’m convinced. A day after reaching a long-considered decision to link from my site to IndieBound first, followed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders, I’ve removed the links to those latter three and gone with only the one link to “your favorite local, independent bookstore.” It’s a matter of sales lost (minimal if any, I’m betting) vs. goodwill gained (how’m I doing so far?).