Amazon has launched "Prime Book Box Kids," available now only to Prime members, who can request an invitation for a subscription that can run every month, or every two or three months. Subscribers can also skip a delivery or cancel at any time, the company noted on its website.
Boxes are $23 each (reflecting a discount of up to 35%, according to Amazon) and can be selected for children ages 0-2, who get four board books, or ages 3-5, 6-8 or 9-12, who get two hardcover books.
Amazon editors curate the boxes, but subscribers can adjust the contents before they’re sent out.
The first additional new perk for Prime members since Amazon’s announcement that it would bump up the price of their annual fee by $20 — from $99 to $119 — is relatively low-key.
Prime members enjoy a host of benefits, including an entertainment streaming service rivaling Netflix, limited music streaming, photo storage, exclusive access to certain Amazon private labels and, the one most people use it for, free two-day shipping on millions of items through Amazon itself as well as its marketplace — along with a host of exclusive discounts.
Other perks, like Prime Now's one-hour same-day delivery, unlimited music streaming, Amazon Fresh grocery delivery, Kindle e-book subscriptions and now this kids book subscription, cost extra.
"We want to help Prime members discover great children’s books that will inspire a love of reading," a spokesperson said in an email to Retail Dive. "Prime Book Box is a subscription that delivers curated children’s books every one, two, or three months, and saves customers up to 35% off of list price." Prime members can request an invitation to join on the website.
Amazon has long had a work-a-day feel to its website, and searching through its massive assortment can be a chore, though many people find it worthwhile because it features some of the most helpful reviews on the internet. But its book pages, including those for children, are designed for discovery and most hardcover books already sport discounts of up to 35%.
This subscription, then, is a bit more convenient than ordering a similar package oneself, though the need to cancel or skip may take away from that, too.
But another reason for the move may be found in the video above. Independent booksellers, stung two decades ago by Amazon's arrival, nevertheless continue to thrive. Much of their success comes from their advantage as physical retailers, with events, readings and spaces designed for browsing, and in the case of children, playing.
Even Amazon's first physical stores were bookstores, and that's no accident, experts have said. Amazon's video portrays the box as a fun, Christmas Day-like experience for kids, which fosters reading and snuggling on the couch with Mom. It's not hidden treasure or storytime, but Amazon's Prime program could be well positioned to withstand the mercurial nature of subscription customers, 40% of whom ultimately cancel, according to recent research from McKinsey and Co.