I’m upset

Cheaper at Amazon

I just bought "Closure, the Definitive Guide" from you.

No, I lied. I wish I could say that. I came very close to buying it, but then I checked the price at Amazon.

$31.99 at O'Reilly. $17.27 at Amazon. Pretty close to half the price!

But, you'll argue, the Amazon version is DRM'd and worth far less than your open, multiple-format, edition. You are right. But, what do I see on the first page of the Amazon edition: a coupon from you to upgrade to the full edition for $4.99.

So, by going through Amazon, I get the $31.99 value for $22.26. Plus, I get the added protection of having the book in my Amazon history too. Plus, I can defer $4.99 of the price until after I'm certain that I really like the book.

So, why should I buy my next book directly through you? I love OReilly books; I've bought many dozens, going back nearly thirty years. But, I don't like this feeling that your website is trying to gouge your loyal customers, and that you favor customers who gravitate first to Amazon.

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  • Hi David,

    Thanks for writing us about this, and I'm sorry for the frustration. We appreciate that you buy our books, no matter where you buy them from!

    We do want it to be a better experience for you to buy directly from us, so I'm sorry this wasn't. Amazon discounts from our list price, so you may see them selling at a lower price than the list price on our site, but we offer discounts when you purchase from us that can make it a better deal.

    When you're purchasing ebooks or videos, use discount code MBBGS to buy 1 get 1 free (you'll get 50% off each ebook). You can find more information about this at https://members.oreilly.com/account/benefits.

    I've added the ebook of Closure: The Definitive Guide to your account, and you can download it from https://members.oreilly.com/account/emedia.

    I hope this helps explain and helps you to get the best deal possible.

    Kind Regards,

    Rachel James
    O'Reilly Media
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  • 1
    I thought I posted this earlier, but...

    Thanks Rachel,

    I understand your comments, and I appreciate your free upgrade of my Closure eBook. (Your timing was perfect ... I was minutes away from buying the upgrade myself!)

    I also understand that you have little control over Amazon’s pricing and that they have strong incentives to take over the whole book market.

    I appreciate your “buy 1 get 1 free” offer, and I even understand that you are probably constrained to make this kind of offer, rather than a simple price cut, because of agreements you have with Amazon or other large booksellers. (That said, let me be clear that Amazon’s nearly-half-off price is far more appealing. When I want to buy a book now, I don’t want to look around for another book too).

    In short, I understand that O’Reilly is in a tough position, and you are doing the best you can in today’s market conditions.
    And, I even love Amazon; they have done wonders to enhance my shopping experience over the last two decades.

    But, with all that, I remain frustrated. I want to support O’Reilly; I remember what the technical book market was like before O’Reilly, and I want your company to continue to thrive and excel. But, I don’t want to feel like a sucker. And, that’s what almost happened. Your web pages almost led me to spend too much on a book. I only turned to Amazon because I was looking to buy a book from another publisher at the same time, so randomly decided to do a price check on the Closure book.

    I don’t know what the right answer is. But, it seems that your strengths are:

    1. First and foremost, publishing great books.

    2. Maintaining a easy-to-find web site with errata, etc.

    3. Offering books in multiple formats, including several valuable e-formats not supported by Amazon.

    What you don’t, and probably can’t, do well is to compete with Amazon on price.

    So, maybe the right answer is for O’Reilly to give up on that side of the business. Continue to publish great books. Continue to offer your $4.99 upgrade deal but up-front, not hidden in your books. But, don’t sell (e)-books per se. Instead, direct your customers to Amazon for that stage. In short, focus on your strengths and let Amazon do what they do best. Don’t alienate your most loyal customers.

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