The Barnes & Noble Affiliate Program marks the seventh total affiliate program and the third book-related affiliate program (Amazon and Apple Books being the first two) Geniuslink supports. We are excited to add auto-affiliation support for BarnesAndNoble.com affiliate program to further support our authors, book publishers, and affiliate marketers recommending good books to their audiences.
Over a century old, Barnes & Noble started in New York City in 1886. Today Barnes & Noble stands alone as the United States’ largest national bookstore chain and has had a storied past. Barnes & Noble is likely one of the many companies most dramatically impacted by the explosion of Amazon. Barnes & Noble has, however, outlasted Borders and WaldenBooks. In the US, for physical retailers, Books-A-Million is the closest competitor.
Traditionally known as a physical bookstore, the retailer and e-commerce platform also sells magazines, newspapers, DVDs, graphic novels, gifts, games, toys, music, and Nook e‑readers and tablets.
For authors and book publishers, Barnes & Noble is an important channel for those that don’t want to be fully dependent on Amazon for both physical and ebook sales. A 2017 report by Author Earnings, found that Barnes & Noble Nook was the third-largest retailer by dollar sales and units for the US (Amazon and Apple iBooks ahead and Kobo and Google behind).
Barnesandnoble.com is currently ranked as the 2,366th most popular website in the world, 432nd in the US, and 24th for “E-commerce and Shopping” category according to SimilarWeb.
For authors and book publishers who already sell their books and ebooks via Barnes & Noble and on barnesandnoble.com, using their affiliate program is a no brainer. The same is true for affiliate marketers recommending books that have a sizable US audience.
The BarnesAndNoble.com affiliate program has been managed through the CJ affiliate network since late 2015. The affiliate program offers a 2% commission on physical products and a 4% commission for digital products over a 24-hour cookie window.
CJ currently reports the three-month “EPC” for the program at $4.57 and seven-day at $3.70. At 2% commission, this translates to $0.095 and $0.074 respectively. However, Skimlinks pegs the average EPC at 4 tenths of a cent ($0.004) EPC with an average conversion rate of 1.05% and an average basket size of $19.65. Meanwhile, VigLink lists the EPC for barnesandnoble.com at $0.01 and the average commission rate at 2.26%.
In comparison, Amazon currently pays a 4% commission on ebooks, 4.5% commission for physical books, 5% for music and 2.5% for DVDs. However, Amazon limits the number of free ebooks that can be sold in a month before a publisher is at risk for not getting paid a month’s worth of commissions. However, the 24-hour cookie window is the same between Amazon’s affiliate program and the Barnes & Noble affiliate program.
Barnes & Noble retail stores have all been located in the US and as such barnesandnoble.com has traditionally been US focused. However, CJ reports that just over 2% of BarnesAndNoble.com affiliate sales happen outside of the US.
The program terms for the Barnes and Noble affiliate program, posted on CJ.com, are fairly straightforward but have a few notable items.
- Placing affiliate links directly in emails is allowed by Barnes & Noble, but is not allowed in the Amazon.com Associates program.
- Additionally, there appears to be no limit in the number of ebooks that a Barnes and Noble affiliate publisher can recommend, compared to the 20,000 or 80/20 split of free to paid ebooks that is outlined in Amazon.com’s Associates Operating Agreement Policies.
- Placing affiliate links on social media is also allowed by Barnes & Noble (as well as Amazon) but is not allowed by Walmart or Best Buy’s affiliate programs.
Barnes & Noble + Geniuslink
While the CJ affiliate network dashboard offers a couple linking tools, it can still be a bit of a process to convert a product deep link from Barnesandnoble.com and convert it into a fully functioning affiliate link.
We are excited to announce that now any Barnesandnoble.com product link can now be affiliated using Geniuslink. You can be sure that all clicks on your links will be sent to the correct destination as a properly formatted affiliate tracking link.
We call this process “Auto affiliation” and it’s very simple to set up. You simply need to grab your Account Number and Affiliate Program ID from the CJ dashboard and drop it into Geniuslink. Once we have these two IDs, all of your geni.us links for BarnesAndNoble.com will start using the tracking info appropriate for your affiliate account. Additional information on adding your Barnes & Noble affiliate information into your Geniuslink account can be found in our Knowledge Base.
Please note our rollout of VigLink and Skimlinks support earlier this year also enables you to monetize BarnesAndNoble.com links through either of these monetization platforms. There are many reasons for using VigLink or Skimlinks, but signing up directly and adding your Account Number and Affiliate Program ID directly into Geniuslink allows you to keep 100% of your commissions earned from the program (vs. the ~ 75% that is paid out when using an affiliate aggregator).
Excited to try out using Geniuslink with the BarnesAndNoble.com affiliate program? We have a few suggestions if you are up for a challenge and want to experiment with augmenting your Amazon affiliate links.
A/B Split Links style=”font-weight: 400;”> – The Amazon.com Associates program is often a mainstay way to earn commissions from US-based clicks, though we’d encourage you to test if its the best option for your audience and the books you recommend. The A/B Split Test links provide a platform to closely track between two or more affiliate programs. You can see an example here — https://geni.us/AB-TheMartian.
Use a A/B Split Test link to compare the performance of Amazon’s affiliate program to BarnesAndNoble.com’s affiliate program.
Choice Pages – We believe that curation and choice is good for your readers and have built out Choice Pages to enable you to promote a single book but offer multiple destinations for the consumer to choose from (and you’ll monetize the sale either way). You can see an example here — https://geni.us/CP-TheMartian — and we bet you’ll see a boost in overall conversions and total commissions. More info on how to set up a Choice Page can be found in our Knowledge Base.
The authors and book marketing professionals that use our platform continue to ask for additional affiliate program support and in the coming months, we’ll be adding those to better support monetizing your book links. Kobo and Google Play are on our list but we need your help. Please vote for which programs we should add next in our private Facebook group for Geniuslink clients.
A list of the affiliate programs we currently support can be found on our website.
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