I often link from this site to Amazon – the hope is that you might buy some of the things I talk about and then I get a (small) return which I can use to buy things I like at Amazon. It doesn’t work too well for me – I think I have made 26 pence in the last six months or so. Back when I ran a blog about politics it was a bit more successful – people obviously thought I had something worthwhile to say on politics, but less so on science and computing. For shame. (Actually, another factor is that the vast majority of this blog’s readership is from outside the UK.)
So, I guess I am not exactly cutting my own throat when I tell you that recent legal changes in the UK may mean that while Amazon is a great place to see what is available and even to look who to buy from, it might not make financial sense to buy from them directly.
Until recently Amazon exercised some pretty heavy controls over the prices third-party sellers could charge customers who bought directly from their (the third party’s) website. In essence they forbid them from charging less than they offered through Amazon, at pain of being delisted from Amazon.
But that approach has now been ruled anti-competitive and so it might just make sense to use Amazon to window shop and to buy directly from the third party seller.
Here’s a real example I have just spotted.
The Pragmatic Programmer is a very well regarded book on programming (often compared to the brilliant Programming Pearls, a book absolutely every programmer should read) – one I was thinking of buying for myself. Amazon sell it for £22.39 – including the price of delivery.
The two cheapest third party sellers offer it for £17.86 and £17.87 respectively, but also charge an additional £2.80 for delivery – bumping up the price to £20.66 and £20.67, still cheaper than buying directly from Amazon though. But if you go to the second of these two suppliers – UK Paperback Shop – they are selling it direct for £18.76.
Other sellers may even be cheaper – I haven’t checked.
Of course, there might be other reasons why you want to shop through Amazon, but it is worth remembering that it might pay to look around. I am guessing that the savings will be most easily realised if you are buying low volume or specialist or technical books.
Of course if you want to buy a Kindle Tablet I’d love it if you did it through that link 🙂