Thursday, January 07, 2010

Amazon expands competition in sales of college textbooks . . .

Officially, I'm an Amazon affiliate. (I think I've gotten maybe $50 worth of commissions over the last five years. Obviously, I'm not a major player in the market! :-)) But having a son in college, and being aware of how much college textbooks can cost, I was pleased to receive notification yesterday, first, that Amazon actually sells textbooks, and, second, that they are holding a textbook promotion:
Our Textbooks Store features savings of up to 30% on new titles shipped from and sold by, and up to 90% on millions of used textbooks.

This season, you can take advantage of FREE two-day shipping for three months with a free trial of Amazon Prime when you purchase any eligible textbook. You can also receive a $5 credit good for individual songs or full albums at the Amazon MP3 store when you purchase $50 or more in textbooks.
I should probably note concerning Amazon Prime: I signed up for the service back in February 2005, very shortly after they announced the program. I mean, what a deal! You pay $79 once a year and then get free two-day shipping on virtually everything Amazon sells: not only books, but everything. (One of the reasons I do about 80% or more of my Christmas shopping at Amazon.)

If you are a printed book lover (as Sarita and I are), and you buy a few books every month or so--sometimes a book or two a week--how can you beat that kind of deal? Every time you want a book (or almost anything else you want to purchase): Order it from Amazon and you get free shipping . . . and the book will arrive the day after tomorrow (if you order before about 2 o'clock in the afternoon). What a deal!

On the other hand, I have to confess, as a competitive bookseller, I hate the program. I mean, for the onesie-twosie book purchaser, how can you possibly compete? There's nowhere near enough profit in the small sales to cover the cost of premium shipping. . . .

Oh. One more aspect of Prime that I just discovered this morning: when you become a member, you can invite four other members of your household to enjoy your benefits as well at no additional cost!

"Household" members seem to include every relation from grandparents to grandchildren, aunts and uncles to nieces and nephews . . . and everyone in between . . . plus "unmarried partner[s]" (business partners? --Why not?!).

Anyway. FWIW.
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