Back in the mid-naughties, when the present website design was launched, WD set up affiliate accounts with both amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, which meant that readers from pretty much anywhere in the world could click through and buy a book they liked the look of. Then Amazon changed the rules, and decided that no longer would they pay commission on amazon.com sales into a UK bank account but only into a US one. Exit amazon.com, stage right.
At some point, the click-through links from the reviews to amazon.co.uk disappeared as well so there has been no commission coming through from there, either. Since all the click-through links from the reviews and from the recommended reading sections will need to be recreated ab initio, the question arises whether it’s worth remaining with Amazon at all, or whether I should be considering other options. Within the UK the most obvious (or maybe only) alternative is Waterstones. Now, Waterstones only sell books while Amazon sell all sorts of other things, so with the latter there’s the possibility of commission arising on all sorts of non-libritudinous sales. On the other hand, Amazon pays no Corporation Tax in the UK and seem fairly keen to keep it that way so there’s a wider ethical issue. Che far?
At the same time, it seems worth revisiting the question of going into an affiliation relationship with a US-based online seller again. The options seem to be Barnes & Noble and Powell’s Books. B&N are big but seem to come in for a lot of criticism over stock in their physical stores (too many toys, not enough books) and customer service; and Powell’s are currently a locally based outsider that have a lot of good reports and are tipped to get a lot bigger. The ideal would be for commission to be paid to WD’s (fully verified) paypal account, but paid direct into WD’s bank account would be fine so long as most of the commission doesn’t disappear in banking charges.
I wish I had a lot more time to investigate the options or think this through, but it needs to fit in with the wider website redesign. Eheu!