Smashwords Launches Flexible Ebook Affiliate Program

Smashwords, an online Ebook store for independent authors and their publishers, is launching a new affiliate program that will allow external sites to generate revenue by linking to Ebooks that are being sold on the Smashwords store.

Affiliate programs for bookstores are nothing new. Typically online publishers will link to a book and will get a cut of the proceeds if the store linked to makes a sale within a certain timeframe. But the emergence of Ebooks is changing the landscape. Amazon, which has built up its affiliate program for traditional books over the last decade, does not give affiliate publishers any portion of the purchase price if a visitor winds up buying an electronic book. Smashwords is looking to capitalize on this omission by offering web publishers an alternative.

The Smashwords affiliate program is offering commissions of 11% of the net selling price (the sale price less any PayPal fees) for all of its online books (authors can optionally opt out if they’d like). And the store is giving authors and publishers the ability to control how much of a commission they’d like to offer above that 11% – so an author could bump it up to 50% or 80% if they were willing to exchange revenue for increased exposure. You can find the full details of the program here.

Smashwords launched a year ago, and has grown to offer 1,300 Ebooks primarily from independent authors, though some small publishers are beginning to sign on as well. All of the content sold is DRM-free (you can read it on your computer, or devices like the Kindle) and authors receive 85% of the net proceeds of any Ebooks that they sell. Other players in this space include Fictionwise and Scribd, which just launched its online store, though neither of these offer an affiliate program.