Read. Review. LinkIndie.

Alright, let’s do this thing.

As I explained in my previous post, my current project online is to promote IndieBound to authors and bloggers.  I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to, when using a link that is about a book, link to IndieBound.  I’m not asking anyone to stop linking anywhere, just to starting linking to IndieBound as well (although, of course, I won’t stop anybody who decides to exclusively link to IndieBound; in fact, I might kiss them). 

I’d also like to spread the word about the IndieBound affiliate program.  Many authors/bloggers link to Amazon because they earn a percentage of any sale that originates at their site.  IndieBound has a very similar program that I think most people just don’t know about.

How do we do this? 

Think about blogs you read.  (If you don’t read blogs, then no worries, think about authors you read.)  Which ones are most important to you?  Do they ever talk about books, review books, etc?

Write an email to the blogger or author.  Explain who you are, why you are writing (including that you’re a fan; can’t hurt), explain why local businesses and indie bookstores are important to you (and if relevant, state the ways in which you think they are important to the person to whom you’re writing), and state what you’re asking for.  

What are you asking for, anyway?  Well, if you’re me:

“What I’m basically asking for is that, when you and your fellow bloggers talk about or review a book, you include a link to IndieBound, not just to an online or chain bookstore.  Many people prefer to buy locally when they can, and this linking will make it easier for them to do it. [If relevant: From reading your blog for years, I know that localism and sustainability are important to you, and this is a small step you can take to extend that the practice of that belief to your audience.]”

Make sure you include links to whatever makes sense–to IndieBound, to this blog post, to the websites of authors or bloggers who already do this, to your blog, to your store, to your favorite indie, to an indie close to them, or to either of these two great resources for this project:

1. The ABA’s letter to authors, asking them to consider being a part of the IndieBound Affiliate program.  This letter shows how easy it is to join up and breaks it down to 7 steps.

2. An article from last week’s B0okselling this Week called “Easy Options Connect Authors to Indies.” Good examples of what people have already done; keep in mind that the word “blogger” could be inserted for “author” at basically any point in the article.

There’s no need to email tons of people, unless you want to.  I’m starting with 3 blogs that I’ve read for a long time: Feministing, Shakespeare’s Sister, and Boing Boing.  I expect that number will grow as I read posts in Reader that talk about books but don’t link to IndieBound.  This post isn’t a once and done thing; this is a starting point.

All that said, I do want to know who you’re contacting and what success you have (including if you don’t, and especially if they tell you why they won’t—I am dead curious to know why people won’t).  So please leave that information in comments, where we can all see it.

As for vocabulary, originally in my head I was calling this “Project Fairness in Linking,” which is awful, because I am shit at naming things.  Luckily, my mom not only came up with a beautiful portmanteau for linking to local businesses (sustainalinking), she also came up with the following phrase, modeled on IndieBound’s Eat Sleep Read.  What do you think:


Read. Review. LinkIndie.


9 comments so far

  1. Caryn on

    I am asked to ask you if you know about

    • bookavore on

      Yep, for sure. And for people reading this who don’t: that is the website of the Independent Booksellers of New York City, a great organization that I am excited to be a part of in some way.

  2. Jacqui on

    I did not know about the affiliate program and will go check it out. And I do link to IndieBound as much as possible. Here is something I wish: I wish individual books, reviews, information, etc. were available so I could link to an individual book’s information page instead of just the search results. When I click on individual books, I get the “find your local indie” pop-up. Am I missing something?

  3. Steph on

    Just registered 🙂 Not sure if I’ll bring any traffic or anything, but I figured it can’t hurt, especially since I have mad amounts of support for IndieBound.

    Also, I second Jacqui’s suggestion.


  4. Paige on

    Stephanie – thanks for posting this!

    Jacqui – that’s something we’re going over as we speak (or as I type to you, rather). As the links spread, and it’s something people are asking for, we’re rethinking. We’re just looking for a way to do it differently, and provide something unique (along with all the info you’d want).

    Indie bookseller descriptions, maybe? What would be cool/informative/interesting/fun?

  5. Gwenda on

    Thanks for this, and I will definitely take it under advisement and figure out how to link in posts using IndieBound instead of Amazon. I don’t really care about my affiliate money, and never never never use it to buy books (I use it buy Lush products instead).

    The main reason I have relied on Amazon links on my site is because Typepad will generate those pretty-looking “Typelists” for me, and all I have to do is enter the name of the book. Over the years, I’ve been contacted by many, many bloggers looking to know how I made the books sidebar. I’m worthless when it comes to design and coding, and the Typelists were one of the main reasons I started using Typepad in the first place. So maybe IndieBound could develop some sort of coding solution/HTML that could be made available to generate sidebar thingies? I suspect it would be VERY popular. (And I know that Mark Sarvas, for instance, rolled his own Powell’s code at some point, so maybe there’s a way to copy off that.) I’d love something like that.

    Go indies!

  6. Jacqui on

    Paige, I think indie descriptions would be excellent. Something to give people an idea what the book is. So many times, we’re linking not just our own books (which I’m happy to describe in detail), but a quick reference, so it would be good for people to get there and have some info.

    And let me say again how much I love this whole idea.

  7. Ravenmn on

    Jacqui, it takes a bit of searching, but I like to link to the publisher’s web page for books I mention. The web page usually had better descriptions and often has author information, author interviews, links to reviews and even chapter excerpts.

  8. Roundup- India Drummond on

    […] Bookavore explains why those who are using affiliate links to sell books on their book websites and blogs should Link Indie. […]

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