Thursday, 16 May 2013

Amazon is more expensive shock!

There are many reasons to avoid ordering through Amazon. Their policy of ripping us off collectively by choosing not to pay taxes, their anti-union regime, the enormous discounts they charge publishers and because we do value bookshops. But, it is easier to say than do. You might not live near a bookshop (increasingly that is the case, thanks to Amazon), you might need a book in a hurry (and there is very little chance of Waterstones stocking a specialist book) or you are on a low income and need to watch your expenditure. But a good way to save money is to not use Amazon, or at the very least shop around.
Here are the prices of some current Five Leaves books, four recent and one backlist. These may not be fully representative of our 200 books, but the message is obvious (though we would still prefer you to buy from an independent bookshop, over the counter). Note that Book Depository is owned by Amazon, though is less grasping on discount, and is the only way to my knowledge of overseas customers obtaining books post free.
The Killing of Emma Gross (retail £7.99)
Amazon: £7.99
Waterstones.com: £7.99
Guardianbookshop.co.uk: £6.39
Book Depository: £7.99
Foyles.co.uk: £5.59
London Fictions (retail £14.99)
Amazon: £14.24
Waterstones.com: £14.24
Guardianbookshop.co.uk: £11.99
Book Depository: £11.68
Foyles.co.uk: £10.49
Talking Green (retail £7.99)
Amazon: £5.99
Waterstones.com: £8.99!
Guardianbookshop.co.uk: £6.39
Book Depository: £6.10
Foyles.co.uk: £5.59
Versions of the North (retail £8.99)
Amazon: £6.74
Waterstones.com £8.99 (with the book marked "availability uncertain")
Guardianbookshop.co.uk: £7.19
Book Depository: £6.74
Foyles.co.uk: £6.29
Jazz Jews (retail £14.99)
Amazon: £21.24
Waterstones.com: £24.99
Guardianbookshop.co.uk: not available
Book Depository: £19.74
Foyles.co.uk: £17.49

In summary, in five out of five cases Foyles.co.uk is the cheapest in every case. Waterstones is the most expensive in every case (and seemed to have difficulty with book information). Amazon's prices vary between second cheapest and equal most expensive.
I am only commenting on price rather than service, but if I was a regular or even occasional book buyer I would go to Foyles.co.uk as my first choice, or at the very least check their prices. I should say though that they only give post free if orders are over £10, so if the books are cheaper than £10 it is best to wait until you have more than one book. Foyles is a tax-paying company with bricks and mortar shops, which normally charge full price. For the avoidance of doubt, I have no direct connection with Foyles, nor have I ever discussed prices with them or offered them extra discount. Indeed, Foyles asks for less discount than any of the other companies mentioned. I was not aware of this significant price differential until half an hour ago.
If anyone were to buy all five books, this would be the charge:
Amazon: £56.20
Waterstones.com: £65.20
Guardianbookshop.co.uk - excluded from total comparision as one book not carried
Book Depository: £52.25
Foyles.co.uk: £45.25


5 comments:

Nottinghamshire Notes said...

Thanks for the research. Most interesting and I've sent the link around!

Ross Bradshaw said...

When I have time I'll do a more representative sample, not only of Five Leaves books!

Patrick Dessalle said...

I'm building a tool ( www.shoptimate.co.uk ) that's meant to automate this type of this research.

When you're looking at a book on Amazon (or bookdepository), it will check the prices on other sites.

We currently don't support Waterstones, Foyles or Guardianbookshop but we'll work on adding them.

Ross Bradshaw said...

Good, if it keeps people away from Amazon!

Nick said...

I just checked one at random and this morning:

Talking Green by Colin Ward

RRP - £7.99
Amazon.co.uk - £5.42
Foyles.co.uk - £5.99

Did you find the time in the last year to run that larger sample?