Does buying from Amazon give you huge savings?

Many books that you buy tell you that Amazon is the worlds number 1 online bookstore, and that it is able to give you substantial savings as compared to your local bookstore? But is that true? I will now take the journey to calculate the costs for all readers:

The costs are based on two different books. The first one is “Smart Start-Ups: How to make a fortune from starting online communities” by David Silver. The second book is “Multiple Streams of Internet Income” by Robert G. Allen.

Now the cost of the 1st book in is US$16.47.You save about 34% buying from

The cost of the 2nd book in is US$16.47. You also save 34% buying from

The total cost of these 2 books is: US$32.94

International Shipping Charges (>source):
1 shipment: US$6.99
2 books: US$9.98

The total cost of getting these 2 books is: US$49.91
In Singapore dollars (using current exchange rate of US$1 = S$1.51411): S$75.57

Now I will be checking the price from Kinokuniya Book Web:

1st book (Kinokuniya offers paper back whist Amazon’s is hard cover):S$33.44

2nd book: S$45.94

Total cost buying from Kinokuniya: S$79.38
You save: S$3.81

Is that substantial? I doubt it. It takes about 4 weeks for Amazon to ship that item to you, of which I believe we would rather buy from Kinokuniya then wait.

However, Singapore has its own VPost USA service where you make Amazon ship to the VPost outlet in the US, and then VPOST will ship your items back for you. Here is the shipping charges for VPost.

The 2 books are eligible for Free Supersaver shipping in the United States. (They fulfill the minimum order of US$25 for the supersaver shipping). Thus lets assume that shipping costs are zero. (I think it should be zero since its called free) Then the cost of shipping the 2 books to the location in the US (inclusive of book cost) is US$32.94 = S$49.87

Using the shipping rates at mentioned in the VPost link:
1 shipping : S$12.22
2 books: $8.14 (If you use their shipping calculator it will be twice as much, but I believe its a mistake because the website states clearly that calculation is $8.14 * round up of (number of books divided by 2)

The total cost for everything is now S$70.23. However, GST charges apply.

Total cost of product:S$49.87 = A
Total shipping charges: S$20.36 = B
Cost, Insurance and Freight: A + (A+B)* 0.02 = S$51.27
Since the total CIF is not above 400 dollars, we need not pay GST.

Thus the total cost is still S$70.23. You save S$9.15.

Is that huge savings? Well you get the book about a week later, so I guess 10 dollars savings is very important. However doesn’t seem to be very clear if there is going to be tax on the shipping within US. I doubt so actually.

The conclusion is: You can get a bit of savings here and there and the more you buy, the more you will save. However, do take note that there is free supersaver shipping that is why there is no charges on shipment within US. Perhaps if you buy the books from other merchants in Amazon that sells used and new books, you can get a much cheaper price.

4 thoughts on “Does buying from Amazon give you huge savings?

  1. i just go to the library when i need a book. n i log on to to check which branch has the book i need. i also don’t mind paying to reserve the book. it’s a minimal fee.

    i love libraries!! 🙂

    actually i already have too many books at home, that my study looks like a mini library itself. so i refrain from buying books unless i really really want to keep a copy of it, or if i will need it for the long term. buying books just to store on ur shelf is a waste of money (and you are killing trees).

  2. I always buy books from Usually, the more expensive the books are in Singapore, the cheaper it is in Buying a minimum of 2 books is essiential to saving money.

    Shipping charges from amazon are as follows:
    11.98 – 1st book (4.99 for 2nd book)
    6.48 – 1st DVD (2.49 for 2nd DVD)

    19.20 (8)
    10.40 (4)

    Here are some stuff I bought…

  3. Hmm..Maybe I should check it out one day, but lately I haven’t had the time to indulge in books, and perhaps it would be more feasible to borrow books, since reserving books from the library is $1.50.

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