Warning: This post is crass commercialism and promotion. If you think Amazon has ruined the world, please click away, or for a different look at large corporations, try my posts on Expropriate Goldman-Sachs or Walmart Socialism.
Obviously Amazon the corporation has appropriated the name of an important region for indigenous peoples, biodiversity and anthropological theorizing. But there are several ways Amazon could be helpful for promoting anthropology and anthropology blogs.
1. Kindle Books and eBooks. I’ve recently put out Anthropology I: Human Nature, Race, Evolution in Biological Anthropology which sells for $2.99. By carefully following the instructions in Building Your Book for Kindle, I was able to take a Microsoft Word file and fairly quickly turn it into a Kindle “book.” Admittedly I had been working a long time on these as sections for my website, but it really is quite easy (perhaps too easy!) to take some blog-posts or manuscripts and re-tool them as a Kindle download. The other interesting aspect is that even though my Kindle Download is free for five out of every 90 days, supposedly Amazon will pay me out of a special Amazon KDP Select fund, perhaps about $2/download.
2. Amazon Blogs
There’s a little known link–perhaps because it is still in beta–to Publish Blogs on Amazon Kindle. Basically all you need is an RSS feed. People can then subscribe for .99/month and you get 30%. Although this wouldn’t work for all anthropology blogs, there are some that already seem well-adapted to this venue. At the moment, this is almost completely open pickings for anthropology.
3. Amazon Affiliate Program
Like other anthropology blogs, every time you click through one of my links and buy something from Amazon, I get about 6%. It doesn’t have to be exactly what the link advertises–if you just stay on Amazon during that session and buy something, I still get the promotional credit. Now, this may not be a big money maker, but it sometimes puzzles me why anthropology blogs link to a book on Amazon but are obviously not signed up for the affiliate program. You can also link to your own Kindle book or blog with your affiliate link, a kind of double-dipping Amazone encourages.
4. Book Reviews
This is something I would like to do more, writing Amazon reviews to promote good anthropology. I’ve so far only been able to write a review for Trouillot’s Global Transformations: Anthropology and the Modern World and for my favorite textbook Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human? (plus managed to sneak in a link to my blog on the latter review). But I would love to see more anthropology-influenced reviews on Amazon books.
Comments, suggestions? Let me know!