Amazon Prime… or else


Amazon extends its grasp on the discount market beyond online sales by opening bookstores in high population areas.

Jessica Prouty, Staff Writer

Amazon, one of the world’s leading online retail sources, has been cherished by all at some point or another. Upon opening physical book stores, which offered the same discounted prices to everyone, the company saw an immediate growth in sales. However, in the midst of all the money-making, the company seems to have set its sights on raising profits even more by aggressively promoting its Prime feature.

While users who do not subscribe to the Prime membership are still able to buy selected books at Amazon’s retail bookstore, they are no longer offered the same discount prices advertised on the Amazon website but rather sold for the list price of the item. To some, this is only a minor change; to others, this discount, often times adding up to several dollars, makes all the difference in whether or not they purchase the product in store.

This is not the first time a leading bookstore has chosen to enforce a membership policy though. Distribution competitors such as Sam’s Club or Costco also require a membership to simply enter the store in order to shop. Success of companies who elect to use this policy provides enough evidence to support that, while the change is not welcomed by consumers, it is not completely outrageous and unacceptable. Aside from these two distributors, Barnes & Noble, the largest book sales company in the nation, also offers (but does not require) an annual membership that includes books at a discounted rate.

While many believe this is a marketing attempt on the population, the largest reason for this change can be attributed to the amount of income required to keep a physical store afloat. Amazon’s book stores are, in a sense, competing with Amazon online; it is not easy to keep the business afloat when people are just as content ordering the book from the website as they are wandering into the bookstore itself. However, this price hike is good news for neighboring bookstores; Amazon’s low prices were the largest threat brought to competitor stores around them. Without the discount for consumers who choose not to purchase Amazon Prime, the store has set itself back onto level ground with other book distributors around them.