Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some more reasons to love

As a writer, I look forward to having my books sell on

As a reader, I'm a big fan of Amazon, and seldom go a week without ordering a few things from them. I often order twice a week.

The obvious reasons are that they have LOTS OF STUFF, the prices are good and they ship quickly; but I'd like to point out more advantages that you folks may not be aware of.

(1) People who buy a lot, like me, can save a huge amount of money on shipping charges, with the Amazon Prime program.

You pay $79 a year, and get unlimited FREE two-day shipping on everything Amazon sells, and you can upgrade to next-day shipping for just $3.99. There's no minimum order size, and no maximum weight. You can use it for a two-buck book, or heavy-weight audio or video equipment, and you can even try the program FREE for a month. Yesterday was Tuesday and I received a box of books and the new Dylan CD that had been ordered for two-day delivery on Monday -- so sometimes you get even better service than you pay for.

(Keep in mind, however, that the Prime deal does not apply to independent merchants who sell through Amazon, so pay attention to whose stuff you are actually ordering. Also, the $3.99 next-day bargain deal is PER-ITEM, not per-order, so be careful how you use it.)

(2) Amazon has their own branded credit cards, issued by Chase Bank. You can use any credit card to buy from Amazon, but if you use your Amazon card, you can get FREEBIES from Amazon. You earn three points for each buck you spend with your Amazon/Chase Visa at Amazon, and one point for each buck spent anywhere else.

Once you've accumulates 2,500 points, Amazon sends you a $25 reward certificate that you can redeem online.

Now here's where it gets even better.

I have two Amazon cards, one for business and one for personal use. In one recent month I used the business Amazon card to pay about $15,000 in business bills, and they sent me $150 in reward certificates that I was able to use to buy merchandise from Amazon to re-sell. The profit is pretty darn high when both the cost of goods and cost of shipping are ZERO.

(3) If you are an author whose books are sold by Amazon, this can be an easy and inexpensive way to send out occasional freebie copies of your books, and at the same time you'll boost your sales ranking a bit. (I am not condoning its use for this purpose.)

If you use print-on-demand, you're still paying to print each book, but your cost is basically the same as if you ordered directly from your printer, and the logistics may be a lot simpler.

If you have a contract with a conventional publishing house this method will get you free copies of your book to do whatever you want with, and presumably you'll earn royalties on each one you buy for zero dollars and zero cents.

(4) Amazon makes it easy to send gifts, whether it's books, music, videos or any of the endless variety of other items that Amazon offers. Amazon's computers have stored the addresses of my parents and others I send presents to, and all it takes is a couple of clicks and the gifts are flowing through the pipeline. Sometimes the gifts cost me NOTHING.

Amazon, I love you!

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