Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that, in recent posts, whenever I mention a book, I link to Amazon.com rather than Google Books. Here’s what this is all about:
Maintaining this blog involves two kinds of investments. The first is an investment in time, for researching, writing and publicising the posts. Your readership, support and kind comments are more than ample reward for this investment. The second one is a monetary cost, which I pay to WordPress for hosting the blog. WordPress also offer a free hosting option, but I prefer not to use it, because they reserve the right to display adverts at the end of every post. These adverts make the posts rather slower to load, look rather ugly, and I have no control over them, so I cannot block objectionable content. For these reasons, I prefer to keep the blog advert-free, in exchange for paying a modest amount of money.
For the next six months, I am trying out the Amazon Associates programme, to see whether I can make this blog ‘revenue neutral’, i.e., to find out whether this blog can fund itself. The way the programme works is that, for every purchase of an Amazon.com product that is made following a referral from an affiliated website, the owner of the referring website gets a small percentage of the product’s cost. It is my understanding that customers are not charged more money than they would normally have paid if they had directly visited Amazon’s website. So, here’s how I think this might work for this blog:
What I will do
- Whenever I need to cite a book, I will link to its page in Amazon.com. I will do so unobtrusively, with a simple text link.
- I will only link to books when I need to cite them; that is to say, I will not spam my posts with links to books for promotional purposes.
- As long as the readability of the post is not compromised, I will post reminders about what these links do. Here’s an example of how a post with affiliate links might look like.
What you can do
- If you are interested in buying a copy of a book that I’ve mentioned, I expect you to compare prices with other online book stores and independent shops in your neighbourhood. If you find a better deal, by all means make your purchase there.
- If you prefer to buy the book from Amazon, please consider following the link from my post to their site. This will then count as a referral from me, and my account will be credited with approximately 4% of the cost (exclusive of any tax or postage and handling).
What will happen
This programme will run for six months, i.e, until June. At that time, there will be three possible outcomes:
- If no sales have been made, the programme will be terminated. The blog goes on as it used to, and there are no hard feelings.
- If the money made from the programme are lower than, or equal to, the amount charged by WordPress for six months of ad-free hosting, I will use the proceeds to fund the blog.
- In the rather unlikely event that I end up with more money than I need to fund the blog, I donate the excess money to charity. Alternatively, I will use it to buy one or more copies of Resistance to the Known (which includes a chapter by yours truly), to give away to blog subscribers.
To be frank, I do feel rather apprehensive about all this. I have always thought of this blog as a means to share, rather than sell, but I do think that this kind of ‘affiliate’ programme is a reasonable way of covering some of the blog’s expenses while continuing what I’ve been doing anyway. Thanks for your consideration.