8 Best eBook Affiliate Programs In 2023

Ever wished you could earn money online by recommending your favorite books? Ebook affiliate programs can turn your dreams into reality.

There’s no shortage of cash in the eBook niche. Statista’s Digital Market Outlook predicts that worldwide eBook sales will reach almost $19 billion in 2026…

ebook market revenue
E-book market revenue worldwide 2017-2026

…while a separate report estimates that sales of e-readers will surpass $23 billion by that same year.

(FYI, eBooks are also spelled e-books and ebooks. We didn’t want to alienate anyone, so we’ll use the three spellings interchangeably throughout this article.)

According to Pew Research Center, one in three Americans read at least one e-book in 2021, up from just one in six in 2011. Some 33% of US bookworms read both e-books and print books, while 9% have entirely ditched physical books in favor of digital products.

print books audiobooks ebooks

So there are plenty of opportunities to promote eBooks. But if you’re going to earn a job replacement income, you need to choose the right affiliate programs. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the eight best e-book affiliate programs, all of which are absolutely free to join.

eBook Affiliate Programs

  1. AbeBooks
  2. BookBaby
  3. Apple Books
  4. Smashwords
  5. Barnes & Noble
  6. Kobo
  7. Amazon.com
  8. eBooks.com

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Affiliate Earnings

1 AbeBooks

abebooks homepage screenshot

AbeBooks is an online store selling millions of new, used, and rare books and collectibles. It also has an extensive collection of e-books, with over 23,000 currently listed. The company’s name is derived from its early days as the “Advanced Book Exchange” (hence “Abe”). 

AbeBooks has been owned by Amazon since 2008. At this point, you’re likely thinking: “Why not just join Amazon’s affiliate program instead?” Actually, there are lots of reasons to consider the AbeBooks affiliate program.

For starters, it works with many independent booksellers that don’t list on Amazon. It often has cheaper shipping than Amazon, and its search function is specifically optimized with book lovers in mind.

Convinced? Sign up for the AbeBooks affiliate program through Impact Radius. The program has a 30-day cookie window and pays a standard 5% commission on sales of books priced up to $500. In other words, if a customer clicks your affiliate link and buys a $700 book, you only get paid on the first $500.

Higher commission rates can be negotiated based on sales volume. Commissions are paid 50 days from the end of the month in which the sale took place.

According to Impact Radius, the program has a 30-day EPC of $0.25. 

AbeBooks occasionally offers commissionable coupons to affiliate marketers, allowing them to earn money from resulting sales. It provides various other affiliate marketing resources, including banner ads, text links, and API access to the AbeBooks website. The company also has a dedicated affiliate management team to answer your questions.

  • URL: AbeBooks affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 5% per sale
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Products/Services sold: eBooks, rare books, textbooks, art & collectibles
  • Payment methods: PayPal, check, wire transfer, direct deposit, ACH transfer
  • Market(s): Global

2 BookBaby

bookbaby homepage screenshot

BookBaby allows indie authors to publish and sell e-books in the world’s biggest bookstores and platforms, including Kindle, Apple Books, and Nook by Barnes & Noble. Authors get to keep 100% of net royalties earned through BookBaby. 

The site offers various other services. These include an audiobook publishing solution that pays creators 75% royalty rates and a cover design and book-binding service for independent authors and small publishers. BookBaby offers free US ground shipping on all printed book orders of 25+ units.

Sign up for BookBaby’s affiliate program via the Pepperjam affiliate network. The company pays up to 5% commissions on all short-run book printing and eBook publishing services.

  • URL: BookBaby affiliate program
  • Commission rate: Up to 5% per sale
  • Cookie duration: Unlisted
  • Products/Services sold: eBook publishing, book printing, book binding, cover design
  • Payment methods: PayPal, check, direct deposit
  • Market(s): Global

3 Apple Books

apple books homepage screenshot

Apple Books is Apple’s one-stop shop for book lovers, offering a vast catalog of e-books and audiobooks. The platform allows users to browse current bestsellers, lists curated by editors at Apple Books, and personalized recommendations based on previous reading and listening habits. Members can also set reading goals and track time spent listening or reading.

Apple’s ebook affiliate program is managed through the Partnerize affiliate network. As standard, it pays a 7% commission on all sales revenue and has a 30-day cookie window.

The company also offers an invite-only premier program, which pays affiliate marketers for each trial they generate and offers exclusive support and marketing assets.

To be invited, you must drive trial signups at scale, maintain solid conversion rates from trials to paid memberships, and adhere to Apple’s strict brand standards.

Apple Books has a 60 to 90-day cycle on commission payments and has a minimum threshold of $30. Commissions can be paid in 60 global currencies across 214 countries, with conversions handled through American Express (minus any applicable fees).

As an affiliate marketer, you can access various tools and resources through the program, including the Apple Services Toolbox — the quickest and easiest way to create and add affiliate links.

Apple also offers embeddable widgets, icons, badges, banner ads, and an RSS feed generator to incorporate lists of top books.

  • URL: Apple Books affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 7% on sales revenue
  • Cookie duration: 30 days
  • Products/Services sold: eBooks, audiobooks
  • Payment methods: Electronic funds transfer
  • Market(s): Global

4 Smashwords

smashworlds homepage screenshot

Smashwords claims to be the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks, with the online store stocking 400,000+ vetted and well-formatted ebooks from over 100,000 authors and publishers. Many authors have become USA Today and New York Times bestsellers thanks to the platform. Most of its books are affordably priced and available in multiple formats.

The Smashwords affiliate program has a truly astonishing commission scale, starting at 11% per sale and climbing as high as 80.5% of the net sales price (excluding the PayPal processing fee).

Why so broad? Because Smashwords allows authors to “juice” the commission rate by sharing a proportion — or all — of their earnings with affiliate marketers. In theory, the higher the commission, the more aggressively affiliates promote a book.

Unfortunately, Smashwords only has a 48-hour cookie window, shorter than most e-book affiliate programs we’ve seen. The program is open to anyone aged 18+.

  • URL: Smashwords affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 11% – 80.5% of net sales price
  • Cookie duration: 48 hours
  • Products/Services sold: E-books from indie authors 
  • Payment methods: Unlisted
  • Market(s): Global

5 Barnes & Noble

barnes noble homepage screenshot

Barnes & Noble is the world’s largest bookseller, with a catalog of over five million books, 3.6 million e-books, and 300,000 audiobooks. It also sells DVDs, Blu-rays, music, toys, games, and household products. The retailer offers curbside pickup at most stores and free shipping for $40+ orders.

The Barnes & Noble affiliate program is managed through the CJ Affiliate network (formerly known as Commission Junction).

It pays a 2% commission on most products, rising to 5% for select ebook titles, monthly picks, and some physical products. According to CJ Affiliate, the program has a three-month EPC of $3.27.

Barnes & Noble offers various resources to help affiliates drive traffic and sales, including a dedicated affiliate manager, a robust product catalog, and regular seasonal and holiday-related promotions.

  • URL: Barnes & Noble affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 2% – 5% per sale
  • Cookie duration: 1 day
  • Products/Services sold: Books, DVDs, Blu-rays, music, toys, games, home & gift items
  • Payment methods: Check, direct deposit, Payoneer
  • Market(s): US only

6 Kobo

kobo homepage screenshot

Kobo is a Canadian company that sells e-books and audiobooks, with over five million titles to choose from. It has been owned by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten since 2012.

The online store stocks every type of eBook you can imagine, from current bestsellers to beloved classics. It also sells award-winning e-readers that allow users to store thousands of e-books. Kobo e-readers include a built-in light for easier night-time reading.

Kobo’s affiliate program is, unsurprisingly, managed through the Rakuten affiliate network. It actually offers six separate affiliate programs, each targeting a different geography, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, the UK, and the US.

The US program has a 14-day cookie window and a 1% base commission rate, rising to 5% on Kobo devices and gift cards, and 10% on device accessories.

Before signing up for this ebook affiliate program, bear in mind that all applications are manually reviewed, with the approval process lasting up to two weeks.

  • URL: Kobo affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 1% – 10% per sale
  • Cookie duration: 14 days
  • Products/Services sold: eBooks, audiobooks, e-readers, tablet computers
  • Payment methods: Check, direct deposit, PayPal
  • Market(s): Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, UK, US

7 Amazon.com

amazon books homepage screenshot

Let’s be honest; you don’t need me to tell you what Amazon.com is. The world’s largest ecommerce business, it generated revenues of $131 billion in 2021 and currently stocks over 75 million products — including Kindle e-readers and tens of thousands of e-books.

Amazon is consistently recognized as one of the world’s most trusted brands, which makes it comparatively easy for affiliates to “close the deal.”

It also has a sky-high conversion rate, estimated to be as high as 10%+, so there’s a strong chance your referrals will turn into sales. That’s why it’s the most popular affiliate network, with 58.5% of affiliate marketers using it, according to our affiliate marketing statistics page.

Unfortunately, the Amazon Associates affiliate program doesn’t pay commissions on standalone eBook sales. But it does offer a 4% commission on sales of Kindle devices, plus various bounty payments on Kindle paid subscription packages, as follows:

  • $3 on Kindle Unlimited free trials and six-month paid memberships
  • $5 on Kindle Unlimited 12-month paid memberships
  • $10 on Kindle Unlimited 24-month paid membership

All actions carry a stingy one-day cookie window. However, if your referred customers add an item to their shopping cart in that time and convert within 90 days, you’ll earn a commission.

Another important point: Amazon will only approve your affiliate application after you’ve driven three sales in 180 days. If you don’t hit Amazon’s target, you’ll be booted off the program.

(Want to find out more? Read our in-depth Amazon Affiliate Program review. Check our step-by-step guide on How to Become an Amazon Affiliate.)

  • URL: Amazon Associates affiliate program
  • Commission rate: $3 – $10 on Kindle subscriptions; 4% on Kindle devices
  • Cookie duration: 1 day
  • Products/Services sold: eBooks, Kindle e-readers, children’s books, everything else in the world
  • Payment methods: Direct deposit, check, gift certificate
  • Market(s): Global

8 eBooks.com

ebooks com homepage screenshot

As the name suggests, eBooks.com is an online business that sells e-books to consumers, as well as offering ebook-related services to publishers. The website currently stocks 2,188,663 ebooks and has 5,873,448 members.

The company has licensing agreements with 4,000+ publishers, including all the major English-language trade, professional, and scholarly presses. Publishers upload about 20,000 eBooks a month to eBooks.com, which maintains local sales portals in the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, and Australia.

The eBooks.com affiliate program has a generous 45-day cookie window and a tiered commission scale based on the volume of sales generated during a calendar year:

  • 10% commission rate on yearly sales up to $100,000
  • 15% commission rate on yearly sales above the first $100,000

Affiliates can boost their earnings through regular performance incentives.

To help boost affiliate marketing performance, eBooks.com offers a dedicated affiliate management team and real-time tracking and reporting.

  • URL: eBooks.com affiliate program
  • Commission rate: 10% – 15% per sale, based on order volume
  • Cookie duration: 45 days
  • Products/Services sold: E-books!
  • Payment methods: Unlisted
  • Market(s): Global

Conclusion

With so many fantastic programs to choose from, it’s totally possible to earn a six-figure income by promoting your favorite eBooks. But affiliate marketing success isn’t just about finding the best affiliate programs. You need a reliable, algorithm-proof traffic source that converts visitors into cold, hard affiliate earnings.

In short, you need an affiliate website.

Building a website is difficult. We should know because we’ve built affiliate sites in more niches than we care to count. 

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