I’ve just seen that Amazon have launched their Prime service in the UK. With this system you pay £49 for a year’s (first-class) postage, so every subsequent order is just the item cost. Clever.
Minimum delivery on books, for example, is £2.75, so in twelve months you’d have to be making eighteen orders for it to be economical, assuming you didn’t use the free ‘super saver’ delivery. It does save the hassle of grouping orders for cheapest postage, though, and when combined with the one-click system it’d be great for busy people. Is it worth it for me personally? Probably not – Gmail reckons I’ve only ordered seven times from them since last November. But it wouldn’t take much more, and I can see the average family hitting eighteen without too much difficulty.
It must be great for Amazon, though: who’s going to use any other store if you’ve paid nearly fifty quid for a year’s deliveries? Amazon’s usually the cheapest anyway, excluding delivery, and given the speed and simplicity of their website it’d be incredibly easy to end up using them for everything.
Can’t think independent bookshops are too impressed, mind.