Amazon has perfected one part of the sales cycle: they have made it very easy for me to give them money. Anyone selling anything should think about their models.
First, they had Amazon Prime shipping. I pay $79/year. (I think it was more like $69/year when I signed up.) In exchange, when I order a book from Amazon, I don’t pay shipping and they deliver it in two days. (And often by the next morning.) So if I want a book, I just go online, find it, hit "Buy now" and it shows up tomorrow morning. It’s easier than getting in my car and driving 10 miles to the bookstore. (And cheaper now that gas is so expensive. Cheaper once I’ve already spent that $79/year that is.) So I give my money to Amazon instead of the local (chain) bookstore, because it’s easier. I also buy more books because it’s easy. (And before you tell me to use the library … most of the time my local library doesn’t have the books I want to read and when they do, there’s always a waitlist for them. That said, I love libraries. I still go hang out in them.)
Then they introduced Subscribe & Save. I never even think about diapers now. When we need them, they show up on the door step. Not only do I not pay shipping but I get a 15% discount. So I give my money to Amazon instead of to the local grocery store because it’s easier.
Then came the Kindle. Now I don’t even have to wait for the next morning. I just hit a button and I can read the first chapter and if I like it, I hit another button and they charge my credit card and I get the book. So once again, I give Amazon my money because it’s easier than waiting for my turn on Paperbackswap or going to the local bookstore.
And they’ve encouraged me to tell all of you about it, because if you click through and buy any of these (very addictive) products, they’ll give me a payback. You have been warned!
(And if they listened to me, I have ideas for how they could make it even easier for me to give them money. For starters, their wishlist functionality is so bad, I use several other tools to manage my wishlists. Also, my Kindle needs to be open source so that I can get all the features I want. But even without all those they are doing a pretty good job of making it really easy for me to give them my money.)