The Power of Prime

Number one online retailer, Amazon.com, is turning browsing stores for something new to browsing sites for something new.

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Photo Courtesy of Joseph Grosjean

Many of America’s packages bear the smile of Amazon, but could too many?

Sammi Tester, Columnist

Spending hours browsing books, getting books the same day you pick them out, and the aroma of the books: sounds amazing, right? Those things are what I love most about Barnes & Noble. With Amazon, you can’t browse the same way you can in real life. You can’t get the book you want the same day without paying an outrageous shipping fee. You can get Prime to have free shipping, but there is an annual $99 fee, and you certainly can’t get the intoxicating scent of books.

Another problem with Amazon.com is that it doesn’t give the customer a full chance to inspect a book. I like to be able to pick up a book, read the back cover, read the first couple of pages, see how many pages there are, and see how long the chapters are. I know that online, you can see how many pages, read the back cover, and usually read the first chapter. The “Look Inside” part of books on Amazon is much more difficult than turning pages. You have to scroll down past all the pages that you don’t usually read and, to me, it’s harder to concentrate on reading on a computer screen. They also leave out parts of the book so you can’t read the whole thing. You don’t get to hold it in your hands or get it the same day without extra charge, either. According to authormarketingclub.com, about 80 percent of people buy books from Amazon.

Nook by Barnes & Noble or Kindle by Amazon – which would you rather have? If you’re like most other people, you probably said Kindle. If you’re like me, you screamed at your computer “NEITHER! I WANT A REAL BOOK!” But, sadly, books are becoming “out” and ebooks are “in.” So, why do most people want Kindle rather than Nook? Let’s take the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite for example: it has a faster processor than the Nook and has available 3G. That’s it. All-in-all they are about the same. To me, the Nook GlowLight seems like the better option because it has a bigger screen, it weighs less, and has more storage. The prices are the same, but the Kindle comes with “special offers.” Still, I’d much rather hold an actual book with paper pages in my hands than read off an ebook.

Amazon isn’t selling just books, though. Excluding subcategories, Amazon has 36 categories on their website. They sell clothes, jewelry, electronics, appliances, and so much more. Amazon recently introduced “Prime Pantry,” which allows a customer to buy their groceries online. Yes, their groceries. Amazon seems to have everything anyone could ever want. How convenient. They even lower prices on a lot of items to get you to buy from them rather than a competing, in-person store.

I’m not trying to say to avoid Amazon.com or to stop using it altogether, but maybe you could buy from in-store locations, like Barnes & Noble, every once-and-a-while. Trust me, I like Amazon, but it is taking over some industries. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a monopoly is “complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market.” Amazon.com is becoming closer and closer to becoming a monopoly in some areas.