Amazon.com Inc. today announced its new subscription service available for all U.S. Prime members: Prime Book Box.
The $22.99 per-box service will deliver a curated selection of children’s books every one, two or three months. The Prime Book Box was originally offered to Amazon customers in May by invitation only.
Each Prime Book Box contains either two hardcover books or four board books. Subscribers can tailor their box by their child’s age range from baby to 12 years old. From there, Amazon curates a list for shoppers to preview and further customize the options. Or shoppers can choose to let their books be a surprise. The box then ships free at one-, two- or three-month intervals, allowing customers to skip a month at any time as well. Prime Book Box saves consumers 35% off list price, the retail giant says.
“Our team of book editors read thousands of books every year to find selections for Prime Book Box… You’ll discover new releases, classics, and hidden gems tailored to your reader’s age,” says Amazon in a statement.
Retailers with subscription services for everything from apparel to toys to food to personal care are becoming ever-prevalent in online retail. Internet Retailer analyzed more than 50 merchants that primarily operate a subscription model, but none of them offered a book subscription service.
Earlier this year, the retail giant also shifted its Prime Pantry service, which focuses on non-perishable household goods like breakfast cereal, laundry detergent and shampoo, to a $5-per-month membership model. Amazon said it would make the change gradually, encouraging Prime Pantry shoppers to commit to a monthly service charge that gives them free shipping on orders of at least $40. Those who don’t opt for the new monthly flat rate will pay $8 per box.
It also this year rolled out Amazon Prime Wardrobe, a Stitch Fix-like service that lets Prime members order fashion items online, try them on at home, then return anything they don’t like for free. The difference is, rather than items curated by the retailer, Prime members must fill their own box with at least three and up to eight items at a time. They then have a week to try on the items and return those they don’t want.
“This is a nice return to [Amazon’s] roots and them coming full circle, story and service. Other people in the space need to compete in other ways with Amazon,” says Georg Richter, CEO of subscription platform company OceanX. “I think local specialty bricks-and-mortar retailers probably stand the best chance to compete because true experts who get to you as a person can be the best curators of books for you.”
Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000.
Zak Stambor contributed to this report.