My Selfish Reason for Doing YouTube Book Reviews

Book Reviews

As you may have noticed, a few weeks ago I launched my very first YouTube channel. The channel was primarily for my travel videos, but I have also recently started to review books.

You may think that’s a little bit strange because it doesn’t tie in with anything else that I do.

And you would be right.

I blog about travel, about digital marketing and entrepreneurship, but I don’t mention anything anywhere about books.

And the truth is, the reason why I have started reviewing books is a purely selfish reason.


It’s not for YouTube monetization

Most people assume that the reason I am making these review videos is so I can earn money from YouTube’s advertisements.

Firstly, YouTube has recently introduced a new rule where creators must accumulate over 10,000 channel views before they can start to earn money.

This barrier was introduced to allow YouTube to vet the channel first to ensure that it is legitimate and doesn’t contain any copyrighted material.

To give you a little bit of an idea of my current statistics, at the time of writing this post, I currently have about 60 channel views. I have a long way to go before YouTube will pay me even a cent.

Secondly, if my plan was to make videos purely for YouTube’s monetization, I would make the videos much more engaging and probably choose another niche.

Rather than stood straight on and talking to the camera, I would make a video that had some humour, some music, a range of different clips and anything else that would encourage people to watch for longer and to engage with my channel. Thus, helping to push up my views, and therefore, push up my ad income.

For monetization purposes, I wouldn’t have chosen the non-fiction books niche.

The most popular book genre is fiction. People love stories – romance, drama, horror, criminal, thrillers etc. But I’m not going to be reviewing a Harry Potter book or 50 Shades of Grey anytime soon because that type of reading does not interest me.

And in saying that, I don’t even cover the whole non-fiction range. I cover a very small and specific category of entrepreneurship and online marketing.

In a nutshell, my book review videos are not going to appeal to 90%+ of the people on YouTube.

So, I’m definitely not doing it for YouTube advertisements, monetization and payments.


It’s not for Amazon affiliate payments

The second guess that most people have when trying to work out why I am doing these book reviews is the Amazon affiliate commission.

When I review a book, I place an affiliation link below the video in the description. If someone watches my video, clicks the link, heads over to Amazon and purchases the book, then Amazon will kick back a small commission payment to me. Which is a way for them to say, ‘thank you very much for bringing us this customer’. It’s kind of like a referral fee.

It’s kind of like a referral fee.

For each book that is purchased from my referral, I get 5%.

Which isn’t a lot.

Especially when you consider that a book is not an expensive item. Especially if you are like me and mainly buy the second-hand books on Amazon. I spend about £5 per book, but sometimes I can spend as little as 99p per book.

But let’s say, for example, that you followed my referral link and purchased a book for £10. With 5% commission, that means that I would get 50p.

As mentioned above, that isn’t a lot.

It’s certainly not enough to go writing home about.

If I was going to do this YouTube thing specifically for affiliate commissions, I would be a bit more strategic about it.


Amazon will pay between 1-10% commission depending on the item and its category. For books, it’s 5%, but for other categories, they are willing to pay a lot higher.

I would review high-ticket items, so items that are £100+ (for example, items like lawn mowers or vacuum cleaners) in a category where Amazon pays the highest commission percentage.

Therefore, if someone went and purchased from my review, rather than me getting 50p, I could get £10, £20 or possibly even £40 depending on what that item was.

All in all, I would be much more strategic about it.

Although the book affiliate commissions are a nice icing on the cake, reviewing books is not going to allow me to retire to the Bahamas just yet.


I review books because I want to be successful

My selfish reasons for doing these book reviews is because they make me read more.

Reading is the one thing that I am trying to do more of and it’s the one thing that I am constantly failing at.

When Warren Buffett was asked what his key to success was, he pointed to a bookshelf and said:

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

When Elon Musk was asked how he learned to build rockets, he said:

“I read books.”

And they’re not the only ones out there. Bill Gates reads round 1 book every week – totalling over 50 books per year, Mark Cuban will read for more than 3 hours every day, and billionaire Charlie Munger was quoted:

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads — and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”


Correlations between financial success and reading

Author, Tom Corley, conducted research in order to complete his book, ‘Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.’

He found that both rich people and poor people read frequently, but a key difference was that the less financially successful people read only for entertainment. Whilst on the other side of the coin, rich people read for self-improvement.

Corley also uncovered three very interesting statistics from his research.

  • 11% of rich people read for entertainment, compared to 79% of poor people
  • 85% of rich people read two or more education, career-related, or self-improvement books per month, compared to 15% of poor people
  • 94% of rich people read news publications including newspapers and blogs, compared to 11% of poor people
  • The books rich people read was mainly made up of non-fiction books, such as biographies, self-help, history, science, career-related books and general educational books.

It’s important to note that for these statistics Corley defined ‘rich people’ as having a liquid net-worth of $3.2million+ and an annual income of $160k+, and ‘poor people’ as having a liquid net worth of $5k or less and an annual income of $35k or less.

Corley explains that “The rich are voracious readers on how to improve themselves. They’re reading self-improvement books, biographies, books about successful people, things like that.”

At the moment, I wouldn’t call myself a voracious reader. I will go through phases where I’ll read lots of books, and then I won’t read for months on end and then I’ll read loads again.

By doing these YouTube videos I have got to provide my viewers with a constant stream of book reviews, therefore I’ve got to read a constant stream of books.

So, my selfish reason for doing them is that they actually make me read more. And they are helping my own personal development and helping me to improve my own skills.


Books give high value for a small cost

The best investment that you can make is an investment in yourself.

Mentors, coaching and courses can be expensive and sometimes be completely out of your price range.

I love books because you can get such a great amount of value for such a small investment.

For example, Russell Brunson’s book DotCom Secrets, which I reviewed earlier and called the ‘online funnel bible’, is a big favourite of mine. In the book, Brunson teaches you how to build marketing funnels and sales scripts to improve your company’s traffic and conversion. And if you choose to, you can pay Brunson and his team to come into your office and implement the funnels and techniques set out inside this book.

Currently, Brunson’s book is being offered on for £11.95 for a paperback copy. If Brunson was going to go into your office and implement it all for you, he is going to charge you $1million– I shit you not.

He explains in the book that he charges companies $100,000 cash up front as a first deposit, and then 10% of the company’s profits, up to the value of $1million.

So, if you want to learn what it is that he is putting into someone’s company that makes it worth $1million, then you can buy a book for £11.95 that will tell you.

The value that you can get from books is incredible. You can easily get your money back 10-fold, if not more.

Reading is a cheap, easy and cost-effective way to learn.


I encourage you to read

Although my YouTube book reviews are selfishly being created to encourage myself to read more. I hope that they will have a rub-off effect and encourage you too.

With a bit of Googling you’ll find tonnes more facts that cement this correlation between reading and success – and not just financial success either.

I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences on this. As well as any books that you would recommend me to read and review in the future.

If you want to see my current book reviews as well as my travel videos, random rants and anything else that I decide to film, please don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.

Happy reading!

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