I’ve just been looking at books of haibun. A lot of them are around the £17 mark, which is a lot for a slim volume of poetry, particularly when some are by writers I don’t particularly care for, or have never heard of. I did find one volume that was more modestly priced, and by someone I like as a writer and a person, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve already ordered one book of poetry this week, another wouldn’t, I decided, do any harm.
Then Amazon stepped in. and tried to force me to take out a subscription to Amazon Prime. At one time you could often get free P&P if you looked round and accepted that delivery would take a few days extra. Now you have to pay £7.99 a month. Or I can pay £3.99 P&P for a 50 page poetry pamphlet. Cost, I believe, around £1.29 plus an envelope and the cost of slipping it in and sealing the flap. It’s not worth £3.99, and it never used to be £3.99. They are just trying to push me into Prime membership, and I don’t want it. Even at £3.99 I would have to order three items a month to get any benefit, and I don’t order three items a month.
If I did, I’d buy from eBay as I may as well support the manipulative tax-evading giant that helps pay my wages, rather than the manipulative tax-evading giant that doesn’t. Yes, there are other benefits attached to Prime, but as I don’t currently use them (or know what they are) I’m sure I can live without them.
There must be something magic about the figure of £7.99 a month. If I ever go back to Microsoft office it will cost me £7.99 a month. So does Readly, the magazine service, but I do get value for money there most months. Other things seem to end up at £7.99 too. It’s the sort of figure that doesn’t seem frightening in the same way that £9.99 or £10.99 does, a sort of 21st Century stealth tax on modern life.
However, for the time being I’m not falling for it, and I’m not going to be forced into it, or into paying £3.99 for P&P.
Amazon hasn’t lost a lot, because my purchase is insignificant, but I have lost out by not having the book and the poet has lost out by not having a sale. Eventually this is how the world will go – everybody either bowing to Amazon or suffering a second class life if they dare to resist.