On Purchasing in Bulk

My son ordered a book from my Amazon account (the Way of Baseball by Shawn Green) and accidentally had it sent to my house rather than to his dorm.  Looking at my shipping costs on UPS to get it up to him, it was cheaper to buy a new copy for him and have Amazon ship it for free with my Prime membership than it was for me to ship the other copy to him.  I would love to see what Amazon pays UPS.  This is a $24 list price hardback book that Amazon sells for $9.60 and then packages and ships for free.


  1. Jon:

    Media mail is about $4 to ship a book, if I remember right. That also assumes you are reusing some packaging that was sent to you when you bought a book before, so that would be free. But really, would $5 be worth the hassle to go through all the effort of going to UPS? Probably not.

  2. marque2:

    you do pay $80 per year for the privilege of gettting "free" 2 day shipping. But it is still a deal.

  3. John:

    UPS has almost priced themselves out of residential delivery. I just shipped a small half pound part to my friend's house about 30 miles away. Here's the UPS: freight 5.84, fuel .85, residential 2.80, area surcharge 2.75. Holy crap - $12.24 for a small parcel. The area surcharge is bs, too. He's not the least bit rural. I'm testing the Post Office flat rate boxes (attractive) and their regional priority for business only. Now, if I could only get them to deliver to loading docks rather than to the receptionist in the front lobby of a business.

  4. BigEasy:

    Amazon does not pay what you pay John.

  5. Morven:

    Besides, we all know that UPS means United Parcel Smashers, right? I know people who worked at UPS; it has the worst attitude problem among its employees of almost anywhere I've ever heard of. Games of "parcel baseball" were apparently common.

    The rule among people in the computing business was always "Pick UPS if you don't care when it arrives or what condition it arrives in. Pick FedEx if you care about condition, but not timing. Pick DHL if you care about both." With DHL's reductions in service, now you're only left with FedEx giving any kind of damn about service quality.

  6. herdgadfly:

    The $79 gets you free access to free Kindle books and a marvelous choice of free videos as well. - overall, a far better deal overall than Netflix.

  7. herdgadfly:

    Don't forget to pack up the misdirected book and return it to Amazon. Drop it into the nearest UPS collection box and your son will get some of his money back after they deduct return shipping.

  8. marque2:

    And yet, even though I shop a lot at Amazon, I don't pay for their prime service, and pay the money for Netflix. Netflix must have something going for it ;-) - Otherwise I would just spend my time watching (free) Crackle.

  9. marque2:

    I think UPS prefers to work with business. If you ship to a business address they even give you a discount for that. Still it is easier than using USPS.

  10. FelineCannonball:

    Operating everything in bulk is more cost effective: http://www.businessinsider.com/working-conditions-at-an-amazon-warehouse-2013-2

  11. obloodyhell:

    }}} Operating everything in bulk is more cost effective: http://www.businessinsider.com...

    Not for the US Postal Service -- that was one of their purported reasons for raising the cost of an FC stamp one year -- "increased volume of mail".


  12. obloodyhell:

    OTOH, I'd point out to you that the USPS as this thing called "book rate", that makes it ridiculously cheap to send books (not saying that they don't lose money on it, mind you). It would have been cheaper still to just send it to him "book rate". Probably under 3 bucks.

  13. obloodyhell:

    I haven't compared myself, but, according to people who have, the selection on Netflix of instant movies is substantially better. Again, just repeating what I've been told.

  14. obloodyhell:

    a) Depends on where "UPS" is, compared to you.
    b) And, regards the above, let's NOT forget the "pack and ships" that UPS has all over the place.

  15. Scott Sullivan:

    If Amazon, the publisher and the author can make a profit at $9.60 with free shipping, then why do they still sell it for $24? Books are becoming the new digital media, prone to easy copy and distribution. Yet the businesses cling to old revenue models justified by past century technologies.

  16. FelineCannonball:

    Sorry, I thought we were talking about businesses not business-like entities trussed up by mandates, regulations, and an executive board of 539 idiots.

    Size helps Amazon out a huge amount. Their monopoly status gives them the ability to lose money on all sorts of projects and still keep investors -- http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/01/30/amazon_praised_for_losing_money . Their size allows them to negotiate generous tax breaks with municipalities and states. Their size allows them to negotiate deals with suppliers, content providers, and shippers. And their size allows them to move facilities around at will and create semi-fluid worker situations with high turnovers and still get their work done.

  17. marque2:

    They didn't Amazon sold the book for $9.60 normally they would charge 3.99 on top of that for shipping but because Warren is a Prime member (you pay $80 a year for the service) he gets shipping for free.

    $24 is the list price. I also suspect this book has been surplus binned - they only sell it for list for the first 2 or so years.

  18. marque2:

    I don't know about Amazon, but Apple all of a sudden has very stiff competition from Samsung and the iPhone5 is not selling as fast as it used to. In fact companies that would beg for iPhone sales rights are now annoyed because they contracted to purchase minimum iPhone amounts and can't sell them. (Cricket)

    Apple was overpriced by fanboi's and has now lost its mojo.

    Amazon has always been an odd company - but, I suspect they may be losing money because they are rapidly expanding again. If your company is losing money cuz sales are down that is bad. If you are technically losing money because you are building a massive system of warehouses in CA, to do delivery within hours - rather than days - and the expected return in the future is suppose to be incredible, then making a temporary loss is OK. You actually learn this in business school as long as revenues are growing faster than the amount you have to repay in debt, the loss is OK and many startups - like Amazon, lose money for years as they go through the rapid expansion phase. Magnanimity has nothing to do with it. Bezo's ain't a dummy.

  19. marque2:

    ??? are you confusing UPS with USPS? UPS always delivers on time for me, unless it is one of those low price ground shipments - then I am not so concerned. Never had an issue with their 2 day service, in fact frequently I get items 2 day when they are shipped at a 3 day rate. I'll let you know about my cell phone. It shipped UPS on Friday and is suppose to come 2 day on Monday.

  20. marque2:

    Yes, many fold better, but Amazon for 80 bucks with the shipping and kindle library loan program is pretty tempting. Last I checked Amazon had about 1000 B - B+ movies from several decades ago.

  21. FelineCannonball:

    It's definitely strategy. The people buying the stock believe in it. Part of it is expansion into more and more retail markets outside of books. And I imagine part of the plan might be to eventually jack prices up. Mom and pop bookstores have to jack prices up to deal with the lower volume, so there's some room for Amazon to raise prices and maintain a price advantage.

    They lose money on every Kindle sold -- even considering the content people buy. I'm not sure I understand that one. I like books and if I was going to buy e-content I'd want the platform completely divorced from the content provider(s). I guess I'm not the customer they are looking at.

  22. marque2:

    For years video console companies did the same - sell at cost or even a loss. Gillette invented the model, they sell their non-disposable razors at a loss and make it up selling the blades. Not exactly bad to get the whole world into your e-reader so you can sell videos, mp3s and books to them.

    Amazon's next strategy is same day delivery, and they are spending big bucks to create the infrastructure so you can get your items via Internet in hours rather than days - that is why they were willing to negotiate sales tax with Texas and CA, because they figured their extra fast service would make up for the sales tax disadvantage.

    Will it work? - I don't know, but personally I would rather be in Amazon's shoes than Apple's right now. 3 years and Apple will be at the bottom again - their new wrist watch will be a failure.

  23. John:

    UPS guarantees their Ground Service delivery and will issue a refund if late. I seldom have to use Red or Blue anymore because of that. I'm no fanboy of UPS but they have never destroyed one of my shipments and I send about 10 boxes a day with all weights and everything fragile. If you can't drop the box, it's not packed right. (ok, maybe not for 70 lb boxes)

  24. obloodyhell:

    }}} Sorry, I thought we were talking about businesses not business-like entities trussed up with mandates, regulations, and an executive board of 539 idiots.

    LOLZ, I'm sorry, were you under the impression I was arguing AGAINST the idea?

    I was highlighting the USPS's downright preposterously absurd claim, not arguing against the principle....

  25. obloodyhell:

    }}} It's definitely strategy. The people buying the stock believe in it.

    Not to suggest that it's in any way bad strategy, but belief in/by the investor class is hardly an argument in favor of anything. Or were your ancestors heavy investors in tulips? :-D

  26. obloodyhell:

    Apple might have one last BAM! left in them with the TV -- the current TV model could use some streamlining and ease of use. But either way, yes, Apple sans Jobs is likely to be doomed. They were doomed as it were until Jobs came back in the late 90s and saved them, and the same business behaviors that doomed them in the 80s and 90s still exist in the company and its genetic makeup. It's built into all the things they make and do -- "Du as ve haf commanded yu or du vizzout!!" -- their whole fascist lockstep model is good for noob bozos but chafes on any experienced user, as well as limits the creative behaviors of a large percentage of potential developers.

    At one point there was a big to-do a few years back regarding the first "sex software" on the iPhone. Apple shut them down inside days, and a few thousand others they didn't like the looks of, to boot.

    As a software developer, having a single entity able, at a whim, to shut down sales and distribution of my product makes me utterly unwilling to actually develop for them FIRST. I can see porting something already selling to the iP, but no way in HELL would I develop directly for it. Apple can osculate my posterior. I'll go with the Android for my first market.

  27. marque2:

    'At one point there was a big to-do a few years back regarding the first "sex software" on the iPhone.'

    Phones with vibrate mode have existed for a good 15 years :P

    Microsoft also is "open" in that it gives you tools to use its OS's and doesn't restrict the products you may choose to develop. If MS thinks the product will be big, they will even do some co-development work to provide extra tools for your industry. If I wanted to create say a special pedometer device - I could use linux, Android, and Win 8 as an OS for it easily. Apple would refuse to let me put their OS on my creative device.

    As for TV, how much easier is it to channel up and down? Who knows they might come up with something - but it seems the TV innovation is coming from Vizio right now.

  28. obloodyhell:

    }}} As for TV, how much easier is it to channel up and down? Who knows they might come up with something - but it seems the TV innovation is coming from Vizio right now.

    You're KIDDING, right?

    Let's see. Tivo, Game Station, Blu-Ray, Internet/Roku Inputs. Video and Stereo outputs in different rooms.

    ... With people watching and doing different things in different rooms.

    And 97 remotes to control them all.

    Not everyone uses the TV like it was 1980.

    I don't find this above to be a major problem, but for many non-tech savvy people, yeah, it's complex. And for ANYONE who uses an iPhone, it's probably complex.

    And the excess of remotes is a pain in the ass no matter how tech-savvy you are. There are ALWAYS features you can't control with a universal remote, and where the f*** is that damned thing anyway? Damn kids probably dropped it into the couch again...


  29. marque2:

    Hmm, I have a computer, DVD, Roku and cable hooked to my TV and seem to manage, with just the up and down channel. it would be nice if the remotes were all compatible. (My TV was made before Sony came out with the Blu Ray model - and Sony for awhile refused to allow Vizio codes on their remotes - so I end up with several)

    So what is Apple going to come up with a TV with a built in video server? Hasn't that been done? What is more of a problem is the Cable companies forcing us to use their digital boxes when all TV's are cable - Hi def ready.