The business around affiliate programs has been a big market all around the world since the ecommerce boom. Although India has been a late entrant into this space, there are some interesting affiliate programs that are making the rounds now. The structure of the affiliate program plays a significant role in the process, but the creativity of the people affiliated to these programs are equally important.
I had the opportunity to chat with Aman Bamra, Founder, Books With Purpose; a venture that has some interesting affiliations. For Aman Bamra and Jodhbir Singh, it began by winning a business plan competition in March 2011 at Michigan Tech University. The model was to sell books as a book store with competitive pricing. “The market was very competitive for us in India and we weren’t out of school yet. But we often used to think about the idea and wonder about what we could do,” shares Aman Bamra.
After refining the business model, they decided to start an online book store in July 2012, where people could buy books and also contribute to books required by Government school students in different parts of India. “I want to help those kids. It doesn’t matter which organization. I want them to have the joy of reading. Their mind is like a sponge and they need to develop their senses. These schools usually don’t give them these resources,” says Aman.
The duo realized that the simplest way to go about doing this was through affiliate programs in India. They decided to sign up for affiliate programs with Flipkart and Infibeam. The structure of these programs is simple. The registration is open to anyone who wants to be a part of their affiliate network. Once you register, a person can then use code, banners etc, that can be placed on the affiliate’s website. Once a customer clicks and goes through the link, the affiliate network picks up the id. As and when the person completes the order, the affiliate gets credited with a commission. Seeing the great response for their website, the team decided to enroll in more affiliate programs. Books With Purpose is now the first affiliate partner of Landmark bookstore as well.
The proceeds from the sale of three books through Books With Purpose contribute to one book that is contributed to a Government school. So far, Books With Purpose has contributed over 150 books to 7 schools in Mumbai. All the books contributed so far have been purchased from Pratham Books, an e-catalogue. Organisations or schools looking for books can take a look at this catalogue and approach Books With Purpose for contribution. Currently, Books With Purpose is focused on primary education for class 2,3,4 and 5 reading levels. Pratham Books takes care of the logistics of distributing these books to government schools.
People are often confused that buying from Books With Purpose would compromise their identity and payment methods etc. Aman clarifies that these affiliate network statistics sent to them just contain the name of the book and the price. They don’t get any personal information and are not interested in collecting any personal information of the user. Hence the website doesn’t know who bought the book or where the book has been shipped to.
“I technically don’t have any competitors. Though they might be doing price comparison but they don’t do what we are doing. Competitors are more than welcome to come join this space and compete with me and if someone is doubly or 4 times enthusiastic then I would gladly welcome them. Don’t forget the core is going towards a self-sustaining model,” concludes Aman.
Want to buy books through Books With Purpose or need books for a school? Get in touch with Books With Purpose on Facebook.