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Amazon's bookstores charge more if you're not a Prime member

Regular bookworms have to pay the list price.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
November 2, 2016
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David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If it wasn't clear already, Amazon really wants you to sign up for Prime. As GeekWire reports, the company has adopted a unique pricing model inside its physical bookstores: one sticker price for Prime members, another for regular customers. Subscribers get the same amount shown on Amazon's website, while everyone else has to pay the normal (usually higher) list price. The unusual system has been in place since August, according to one store clerk, but this is the first we've heard of it. The message from Jeff Bezos is simple: sign up for Prime if you want the true Amazon experience.

Credit: GeekWire

Much of the company's revenue comes from Prime subscriptions. You can pay on a yearly basis or subscribe month-to-month; either way, it's a sizeable chunk of change that builds on Amazon's baseline e-commerce business. The bookstores in Seattle, Portland and San Diego (Amazon is planning two more in Chicago and Boston) are, therefore, ideal places to explain and sell Prime to the public. Amazon's strategy is to increase the perceived value of Prime until it's impossible to avoid taking out a subscription. Access to better book prices is but one lever at its disposal.

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