The other day I was surprised that Amazon was going to ship my order of 21 books in 19 different packages.
On Friday night I picked up the first round of arrivals from Amazon. Over two days five boxes had arrived, each containing one book. Four of the books were identical (photo), and all of the books were shipped from the same address in Kentucky.
The boxes did not have any obvious stock number marking on the outside, which would imply the books were picked up, packed and stickered at one time, and not pre-packed. But I have just noticed the bar-code after the amazon.com logo, and will check the next lot to see whether they vary by book, or whether it is just a reference for the box or the shipping location.
The label states they were sent by USPS (US Postal Service) International Priority Airmail. I am taking that this means they used Letter Post – Airmail, which allows you to send ‘letters’ weighing up to 4 pounds (1.8 kg). Each “Don’t Make Me Think” book weighed 1.35 pounds, for which USPS charges $12.95. I’d assume Amazon gets a decent discount from that.
If they had used Parcel Post – Airmail for a single book, then it would have cost $16.85 to send. However, if they had put 5 books into a box, which weighed a total of say 6.5 pounds, then the cost per book would be $34.40/5 = $7.70 per book. So the postal charges for the 5 “Don’t Make Me Think” cost an extra $30.35. It is very hard to believe that this exceeds the saving in handling and boxing costs.
To be fair to Amazon, ordering 5 of a single book is probably not that common (unless you are a Professor), and most orders for 5 books would have books in 5 different places.
So why did I buy so many copies?
Well the book is excellent – “Don’t Make Me Think” is the easiest way to help people understand and have common goals for good website design – and I tend to give them away as I move around. Nigel and Sam at Trade Me put me on to the book – it seemed to work for them.