Here's how it works.
1. Create a blog within your library website, or externally on a free blogging site.
2. Within that blog, write regular book or product reviews of items for sale on Amazon and include a link.
3. Register your blog for free with Amazon Associates.
4. Every time someone clicks on a blog link and purchases the item, your library gets a small chunk of that money, as a sort of referral fee.
If you have a large library patron population this is a great way to generate income for your library and promote reading through book reviews. Blog entries also encourage a dialogue with your patrons. How can your library better serve your community?
Amazon Associates makes it fairly easy to set up an account and to start to figure out how to link products from Amazon to your blog or website. They recommend that the products that you choose to promote should be in line with the general theme of your website. So, book reviews make a great fit for any library or bookstore website. It's also a great fit with Amazon, the number one bookseller, and online retailer in the universe. You can read more about the Amazon Associates Program here.
(In my next blog entry, I will review two audio books I recently listened to by Janet Evanovich. My reviews will include photographs of the book covers and links to buy the products on Amazon, just to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.)
The Google Adsense program is also free to join. The only slightly tricky bit is placing a tracker code on your main page's html, really not that hard. Once you register your library and Google Adsense approves your account, ads will start appearing on your library's blog. At this point, you may want to go into your ad preferences and indicate which kinds of ads you want for your site. Because our library is associated with a K-12 school, I indicated that I didn't want ads for tobacco, alcohol, or ads of an adult nature on the site.
So, for example, the blog you are reading right now probably has ads on either side of the columns. That is part of the Google Adsense program. Site visitors who choose to click on these ads and then purchase something generate income for the site in the way of a referral fee. But whatever you do, DO NOT click for the purpose of generating income for your library. That is considered click fraud and Google takes this Very, Very seriously.
I've had our Google Adsense account active for about a month and have seen zero revenue. I am hoping that when I create linked book reviews with Amazon that our library will generate more income from this. With a well-written book review with correct SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I am hoping to attract a wider audience than just Randolph County, West Virginia. This is another great reason why using the Internet to promote your library is a natural and right thing to do. It only makes sense that if libraries are always living in the shadow of budget cuts that they invent and expand new ways to generate income.
You can read more about Google Adsense direct from the source here.