Following the lead of Amazon.com stateside, the online retail giant’s customers awoke to the news today that Amazon UK was now going to stop offering free shipping on orders less than £10. Much like the upping of the free shipping minimum in the US from $25 to $35 in 2013, a move that was seen as an incentive for consumers to join Amazon Prime, UK customers will now feel the pinch of not buying enough.
When Amazon introduced this shipping term limit over the summer, books, movies, and other categories of content were not included in the limit and were still eligible for free shipping. Now, all items sold by Amazon UK are required to meet that price minimum in order to qualify.
The Bookseller reports that this move might please the country’s independent bookshops who have long felt the effects of Amazon’s impossibly lucrative and appealing opportunities for consumers. Now that customers will have to fill the shopping cart to enjoy perks like free shipping on books, it might be more of an incentive for residents to return to their locally owned businesses, at least for their reading purchases. Unfortunately for the booksellers, it might also be the incentive that holdout customers have needed to make the switch to ebooks.
While the shipping increase in the US did seem to affect Prime memberships, with “millions” of new customers signing up for Prime in the weeks following the move according to Amazon, it’s possible that it will prove even more enticing overseas. The membership price remains nearly the same as for US customers, but UK Prime members will automatically receive no-minimum one-day shipping as opposed to two-day shipping in the US, largely due to geographical limitations.