Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Here are a few tips I have up my sleeve for supporting my book-buying habit. I think that I will be especially glad for it after reading through the great to-be-read lists that will be posted beginning today for the Spring Reading Thing that Katrina is hosting.
Amazon Credit Card--I signed up for this several years ago. For every $2500 I spend, I get a $25 amazon gift certificate (and I get triple bucks for any dollar spent at amazon). We do not use our credit card for all our expenses, but we do fly back home to see family twice a year, and usually take a vacation once a year, and usually make some sort of big purchase at least once a year--a new TV, or a piece of furniture, and all of those things go on my card, in addition to some online shopping and special date nights. The "cashback" value is as high or higher as on other cards and since I get a paper certificate, I can give it as a gift, or use it to buy gifts, household goods, or of course (and most frequently) books for me and my family.
Amazon Associates--if you have a blog and if you review products or books, you should join amazon's associates program. If someone buys a book from amazon by clicking through a link to that book, or from the link on your sidebar, you will earn about 4%. I haven't had that many click-throughs, but it's nice to see the little balance steadily growing. When it reaches $10, you receive an email gift certificate. Your own purchases made through your link do not count (which I learned the hard way after hoping that all of my purchases would at least earn me something), but you can alert friends and family if they use the link on your sidebar or any of your book links to make any purchase that you will benefit. I make it a point to use the links of bloggers who recommend a certain book that I decide to buy, to throw a little of the love their way (I think if you put a book in your cart on that click-through, even if you don't buy it immediately, she gets the credit). I think that some people purposefully don't use these links and I'm not sure why. It's beneficial in two ways: it helps to make blogging (very very slightly) profitable, and therefore encourages her to keep it up, and by clicking through and purchasing the books I like, she gets an idea which books resonate with her readers and might review or suggest more of those types of books.
(Just so you know, I get no kickback from either the credit card link or the associates link--I'm just sharing what's Worked for Me).
Harper-Collins First Look--I have been a part of this for two months and have yet to be selected to receive a free book, but it's a great program and worth looking into to see which free books they are offering each month. You do NOT have to be a blogger. If you receive a book, you have to review it on their site.
Chronicle Books gave away a whole basketful of kids' books last month, and this month they have an autographed book up for grabs. Bookmark this page. They will be having contests every month or two spotlighting some of their best children's books.
Author blog-tours--The publishing industry is beginning to see bloggers as a great resource. For the price of a few review copies sent to bloggers who request them, they get a lot of free press. When a book gets blogged about, it is a great combination of a review and a personal recommendation, which one might take more seriously. So, many authors will post a blog call in regards to publicizing their new book. If you blog about books or certain topics, authors or publishers might even contact you directly to review certain books. For integrity's sake, I try to state when I've been given a copy free for review, but I still try to be honest. If I don't like a book, I probably just won't post about it, but I am more than happy to pass along a good word about the books I enjoy.
It was one of my readers who alerted me to the First Look program, so do any of YOU have any tips and tricks for snagging free books??