GoodEReader reported last week that Google had revoked the affiliate status of a large number of independent bookstores, apparently without motive or explanation other than to say they were focusing on the large volume sellers. At the time, the announcement was confusing and hurtful for small time retailers as they did not see how their smaller volume of sales could have any kind of negative impact on Google.
Now, Google has announced an equally cryptic return to affiliates status for all of those affected shops. A spokesperson for Google told Publisher’s Weekly: “We did not intend to deactivate independent booksellers from the Google eBooks affiliate program. We apologize for any inconvenience.” There’s the confusion; if Google didn’t intend to deactivate any affiliates website links to the Google bookstore, what was the point of sending out a letter to those booksellers stating that their links will be deactivated on March 15th?
The American Booksellers Association, who was previously reported to be unaffected by the revocation of affiliates status, has spoken up for the indie bookstores and advised them on how to contact ABA’s member services for assistance if their links are deactivated. ABA has an IndieCommerce program and it has been reported that bookstores who are members of that program were not affected, yet ABA has worked to support even those stores that are not signed up with the program.
The affiliates program allows the customers of indie bookselling sites and locally owned brick-and-mortar stores, to still support their local shops even when purchasing ebooks by clicking the link on the bookshops’ websites. The local stores receive a portion of the sale and retain the support of their loyal customers.