Tour’s Books Blog

February 7, 2013

Where is Amazon’s 4-for-3?

Filed under: Editorial,General,Uncategorized — toursbooks @ 8:27 pm
Tags: ,

Well, I suppose it was inevitable, but Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion on books selling for a list price of $9.99 and under has disappeared.  And I do mean completely.  I couldn’t even find their Bargain Books listing!  It’s where I went for many of my trade paperbacks that didn’t qualify for the 4-for-3.  That heading is buried in Books , and once found, try clicking on many books are there are NO BARGAINS!  The is list price and no promotions or discounts.  I tried several genres, to be released and older titles, all to no avail.  When I placed an order yesterday, it went from 4 books to 2.  It will certainly cut WAY back on my willingness to try new authors or continue reading any series that’s less than a big favorite.

I did send an email to Amazon on the subject.  I’ll let you know what I hear back.

By the way, trying to find Amazon’s communities is nearly impossible these days, unless it’s for specific book genres.  I guess it’s time to reconsider Amazon as the primary bookseller.  I’ll be paying sales tax, I’ve lost 4-for-3, and new releases arrive FedEx Smartpost, rather than at door UPS delivery, which means I have to walk out to my mailbox and carry back big stacks of boxes – always fun in rain and snow.  All the reasons they were my preferred seller are rapidly going away.  Now, except for the Kindle books done in Create Space, they’re just another option.

UPDATE FEB. 8, 2013

From Amazon in response to my question about discontinuing the 4-for-3 promotion


I understand you’d want to know what happened to the 4 for 3 promotion.

To make things right for you, I’d like to inform you that the 4-for-3 Books promotion is no longer available on the website, however, I’ll be sure to pass your message on to the appropriate people in our company.

If you’d like to know more about other promotional offers on our website, please visit our Help pages:

You may also be interested in our Bargain Books page where you can find newly discounted books and other bargains:

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

I responded to both to Customer Service and in an email to Jeff Bezos – or whatever flunky responds to his account.  Here is my reply to him:

Dear Mr Bezos,
Below is a copy if a response sent to your automated customer service system, which I seriously doubt will make it out of the morass of various complaints to anyone’s attention, but it of sufficient importance I wanted to make sure someone with some authority understood the consequences of Amazon’s most recent business decisions and their cumulative affect on how customers (at least THIS customer) perceives their future with Amazon.
“I rec’d a message that confirmed Amazon has discontinues the 4-for-3 promotion entirely.  I just wanted to let you know this will seriously impact my buying habits with Amazon.  With the change to FedEx Smartpost, the addition of sales tax, and now the dropping for the 4-for-3 promotion, you have systematically eliminated the reasons that Amazon was my bookseller of choice.  If I want to pay full price and sales tax, then I can buy anywhere.  Buying from you becomes an annoyance because now I have to go my mailbox and cart everything back to the house, where if I buy in a store, I park in an attached garage and just walk in.  Plus, I don’t have piles of corrugate boxes to knock down and recycle.
Amazon prides itself on being ‘the most customer centric company on Earth’, yet has systematically eliminated its most customer friendly policies over the last 9 months.  This is, of course, your choice to make.  Mine is to shop where I get the most for my money and/or the most convenience.  To Amazon, this will directly impact sales.  I doubt you’ll see 60% of what I spent previously.  It will also impact new authors as I will be less willing to try them without a discount.
For a much smaller amount than your prime membership, I can get an across the board discount of 10% at Barnes and Nobel, so they AUTOMATICALLY BECOME CHEAPER THAN AMAZON.  Even calculating in the cost of gas, I can drive to the store and buy everything I want in one go and say “Adios Amazon”.
The cumulative effect of these changes is such that I am seriously reconsidering my Prime membership.  I will likely keep it this year, just in case, but I can see where I am now likely to return to buying in store at Barnes and Nobel.  So much for ‘customer centric’ policies.  You do reap what you sow.  In your case. a large drop in sales.  Enjoy!”

Independent booksellers rejoice!  Looks like you can now go toe to toe with Amazon on pricing.  Walmart shoppers will dance in the aisles as they get their 20% discount.  Not the biggest selection, but it’s beating Amazon by a mile.  So Goliath is stumbling and other sellers will find themselves in a far more level playing field.



  1. I suspect this is about the kindle. I always bought 4 for 3 books, because they ended up being cheaper than the kindle books. I also wonder if it might be related to kindle pricing lawsuit. Perhaps there was some sort of back door compromise to be able to lower the kindle prices of books from certain publishers.

    Comment by Brooke Hoff — March 3, 2013 @ 1:25 am | Reply

    • You could well be right. I remarked in another post, I saw some Kindle books for as little as $2.99 when they were usually $7.99.

      Comment by toursbooks — March 4, 2013 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  2. They’ve taken away 4-for-3 in the past, and it’s come back for varying amounts of time. I suspect it will again and have a list of books I’ll order and pre-order if it does. I see them playing around with the prices in the meantime, right now 10-12% off. I don’t think we’ll ever know how 4-for-3 affects their bottom line, or the authors’ or publishers’ either, but for buyers of lots of paperbacks, it dramatically affects buying patterns. I’m buying used online, at my local used book store, at Barnes and Noble with their loyalty program, and watching the prices at Amazon. I expect, honestly, that publishers will increase prices of paperbacks to 8.99 next, and then Amazon will go back to 4-for-3. Because they want a little bit more from us for their efforts 🙂

    Comment by Lisa Hayden — April 10, 2013 @ 11:49 am | Reply

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