For years, Amazon has offered commissions to book bloggers who link to books on Amazon. In other words, if you were reading a review on a blog and you clicked the link on the blog to buy that book on Amazon, you'd be sending a small amount of money the bloggers' way. It's called the affiliate program. Some book blogs have grown to depend on affiliate revenue over the years, and Amazon relied on affiliates to serve, effectively, as handsellers for the company.
As of today, that deal has changed. Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader notes that Amazon is cutting the amount they pay to affiliates by a significant amount:
Amazon is saying that they don't want to pay as much they used to; they no longer value the more active affiliates. That is their right; Amazon is in business to make money, and I can understand why they made this decision...I have been crunching my numbers, and I expect to lose about a fifth of my Amazon affiliate income. That's going to hurt, and I won't be the only one to feel the pinch.
This is what happens when you're the only game in town: when you decide to change the rules, there's nothing anyone else can do.
What does this mean for you? Well, it's likely there'll be even fewer book blogs for you to read in the months and years to come. A few of those bloggers are in the comments on the Digital Reader post. One notes, "Lots of people wanted to believe Amazon was altruistic and a force for good in the publishing world. Well it ain’t, and we’re seeing it more and more."
If your business relies on Amazon — whether you're a self-publisher or an affiliate or a used bookseller — you should remember that: pretty much everybody who partners with Amazon gets the shaft eventually.