We love Amazon for its huge selection, great (and usually free) shipping options, and best of all, low prices. However, the days of super low prices may be coming to an end. Amazon has always operated with low profit margins, which analysts have speculated would cause prices to rise at some point in order for the company to make ends meet. The company's 2012 revenue was over $61 billion — not a small figure — but at the same time, Amazon's net earnings were actually a loss of $39 million. And as anyone balancing a checkbook knows, with numbers like that something has to give.
Less Competition in the Book Market Means Higher Prices for Consumers
The time for price increases may be now. The New York Times reports that Amazon is starting to cut back on discounts on books, in effect raising prices on many titles. The evidence so far is only anecdotal, as the Times points out a number of specific price increases, but Amazon says that overall prices are actually lower. Scholarly publishing houses and small publishers seem to be hit hardest with these price increases, perhaps because Amazon sees less need to keep prices competitive on less popular titles.
And in the end, competition is what this is all about. When Amazon was founded in 1995, the marketplace was full of booksellers. Companies like Waldenbooks, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and many independent retailers were selling books in shopping centers and strip malls; Amazon had to offer low prices to convince potential customers to take a chance on an unproven online retailer. This was a model that worked well and one that Amazon has stuck to. But today, the situation is reversed: Barnes & Noble remains in rough water financially, and Waldenbooks, Borders, and a number of other retailers have gone out of business entirely.
But just how bad does it look for Barnes & Noble? In the last quarter, the company posted a net loss of over $118 million and the company's chief executive resigned in July, neither of which are signs of a promising future. And so without retail bookseller competition, there's a lot less pressure for Amazon to keep its book prices low. ( Continue… )
Summer vacation may still be in full-swing, but many retailers are already rolling out the first back-to-school sales of the season. Everyone knows that gearing up for a new school year means buying copious amounts of paper and pencils, but the best part about going back is the chance to re-stock a student's wardrobe! (Preferably with items that don't require an iron.) Whether you're a parent or a student, we're here to help you find the best sales on back-to-school clothes.
Typically most of these discounts pop up in August, but last year back-to-school clothing sales began in mid-July and kept appearing until the second week of September. We analyzed the data from last year's sales at teen and college-age apparel stores during this time-span, and we've broken down the results below so you can know what to look forward to with this year's sales.
The Early Bird Gets the Jeans on Sale
The back-to-school staple that will find its way into just about everyone's shopping cart is a few good pairs of jeans. Itching to get your hands on some new denim? You're in luck! Our research revealed that the best time to pick up a pair of jeans on sale is right now. From mid-July to mid-August last year, we saw sales that took up to 80% off Lucky Brand, up to 70% off Lee, and an extra 30% to 40% off Levi's jeans on multiple occasions. After the mid-August mark, discounts dropped off sharply and the sales were spaced much wider apart, so be sure to take advantage of those earlier sales. ( Continue… )
While the realm of grocery shopping has always been ripe for money saving tactics like extreme couponing, it has largely been exempt from the trend towards price comparison; up until recently, if you wanted to know who had the best price on a particular item, you had to drive from store to store to find out, or at best manually check several sites online.
Enter mySupermarket.com, a new site that compares the prices of online groceries (both foodstuffs and otherwise) across a variety of stores. Having been successfully operating overseas since 2006, mySupermarket claims to save shoppers an average of 17% over the use of any other single retailer. But can this online grocery shopping comparison site save U.S. consumers both time and money?
Minimize Grocery Costs with Price Per Unit Analysis and Free Shipping
mySupermarket searches for the lowest-priced groceries across some of the most prominent retailers on the web, including Costco, Walmart, Amazon, Soap.com, Diapers.com, and Target. As such, mySupermarket's aggregation technology is similar to that of Google's Shopping search, but instead specifically hones in on the savings to be had on household grocery items.
As shoppers add items to their basket, mySupermarket keeps a tally of savings in the bottom right hand corner of the checkout cart. There's even a "Savings Zone" with recommendations on how customers can save more. For instance, mySupermarket will recognize that a single bar of Dove has a higher per-unit price than that for a 6-pack; while the total cost of the larger quantity is more expensive, the cost per bar is less.
By nature of the tool, your cart will likely contain items from several different vendors. However, shoppers only place a single order with mySupermarket, which then sends each order to the respective retailers for filling. That means customers can expect to receive their items in several shipments. But mySupermarket's shipping optimizer ensures that before checkout, shipping costs are calculated and even lessened by way of combining store shipments; as a result, however, you may end up paying a higher base price for an item in order to get that reduced delivery. ( Continue… )
The Great Patio Paradox is upon us. The best time to buy outdoor furniture and patio sets is in August or September. But we realize not everyone wants to wait until the summer ends to enjoy a cool(ish) evening relaxing on the deck. As such, we've put together this roundup of hot patio furniture deals, which offers great mid-season discounts on the likes of canopies and gazebos, outdoor club chairs, and more.
1. E-Z Up Pagoda 13x13-Foot Instant Shelter
Price: $127.99 via coupon code "SEARS5OFF50" with in-store pickup
Lowest By: $72
Expires: July 20
Is It Worth It?: Need a little shade out on the patio or yard? This pagoda is a peach, as it measures 13'x13' with its canopy and features a 150D polyester two-tone top, pull-pin sliders on legs, matching tiebacks provide additional style elements, and a wheeled carry bag for portability.
2. Martha Stewart Living Captiva II 7-Piece Patio Dining Set
Store: Home Depot
Price: $599.40 with free shipping
Lowest By: $100
Is It Worth It?: Now that Martha Stewart is a free domestic diva again, we suspect she'll want to spend lots of time outdoors, entertaining guests with a lavish set like this. It includes a 40" table and six dining chairs with mildew and fade-resistant Olefin fabric cushions. (Umbrella sold separately.) This set and other backyard furniture and accessories are a part of Home Depot's Special Values Center, which discounts prices up to 50% off. Note that shipping starts at around $7, or bag free shipping on most orders of $45 or more; or better yet, choose in-store pickup to avoid shipping fees on cheaper items.
We see hundreds of excellent deals every day here at dealnews, but sometimes a discount comes across our plate that actually tells a story. In the case of this Editors' Choice Google Nexus 7 deal, it's a story that predicts the refresh cycle for the Nexus 7, as well as future pricing for its competitor, the Kindle Fire HD.
Just yesterday we found a deal on the Google Nexus 7 16GB 7" Android Tablet that came within a buck of the lowest total price we've ever seen, dropping the 16GB slate to $149.90. Simultaneously, the 32GB version was cut to $169, another all-time low price. (And just $19 more!) But even though those deals are eye-poppingly cheap, it's important to keep one thing in mind: Google is scheduled to hold a press event next Wednesday. As such, these prices seem to validate the rumors that the corporation is about to debut a brand new generation for its flagship tablet.
Deals Before the Storm
While most electronics tend to see new price lows right before they're refreshed, this is especially true of tablets. In the past, reseller deals have preceded new iPads and Kindle Fire tablets, and it appears that such deals are now foreshadowing a new Nexus tablet. Whether this is a good deal to buy then depends on a few factors.
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If Google follows the precedent that Amazon has already established, then the next generation Nexus will probably debut for the same starting price as the current generation. That means the refreshed model will only cost $199, or $49 more than the above deal. Keep in mind, however, that last year Amazon also kept its original Fire tablet in production at a lower retail price; if Google does the same with the original Nexus, its retail price could possibly fall to $159 (where the original Fire tablet currently resides). That means this current deal is still $9 less than what the retail price might be, come next week.
The Kindle Fire HD Is Next on the Deal Chopping Block
Last year, Amazon debuted its Kindle Fire HD tablets shortly after Google announced its Nexus line. The Amazon affair took place during the first week of September, and it seems likely that the megaretailer will target that general time frame once again for a refresh.
If resellers treat the current Fire HD like they have the Nexus 7, then we should begin seeing new all-time low prices on the Amazon slate in mid- to late-August. So far, the lowest the 16GB model has gone is $169, so anything below that ($149.90 maybe?) will be an Editors' Choice-level price cut. Look to stores like Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, and eBay for special promotions.
Lindsay Sakraida is the features director at dealnews.com, where this article first appeared. Original article: http://dealnews.com/features/Theres-More-to-That-Google-Nexus-7-Deal-Than-Just-a-Great-Price/795135.html
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It's supposed to hit 100 degrees in New York City this week. And while it's always balmy in Los Angeles, and Chicago only got its first taste of summer just this week, it's officially mid-July and thus, in our book, too hot to cook. But that doesn't mean you have to go broke eating out. These delicious food and drink deals from Buca di Beppo, Denny's, and Papa John's Pizza will keep your belly and wallet full.
Discount: $20 off via printable coupon
Expires: July 31
Is It Worth It?: If you've ever been to Buca di Beppo, you know this Italian eatery gets loud and rowdy, and serves extra-large portions for family-style sharing. With this printable coupon, you get $20 off any combination of two pastas, baked pastas, or entrees. It's good for dine-in only, and excludes pizza and lunch items, with a limit of one coupon per visit and per table. Taxes and gratuity are excluded as well. But there's no limit on how big an appetite you can bring with you.
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Discount: 20% off via printable coupon
Expires: July 28
Is It Worth It?: Denny's is one of the capitals of American comfort food, and this printable coupon snags you 20% off your entire check, excluding taxes, gratuity, and alcoholic beverages. Ah, but where is the nearest Denny's? Just enter your ZIP code into this handy restaurant locator to find a participating restaurant near you. Then you can stop dreaming, and start scoring some Apple Pie French Toast, or BBQ Pepper Jack Country-Fried Steak. Mmmmmmmm. ( Continue… )
These days, few back-to-school shopping lists are complete without a laptop. But parents, before you begin hyperventilating at the potential cost of a new notebook, take a deep breath and consider this: With the best laptop deals now hovering around the $225 price point, buying a new laptop has never been cheaper. In fact, now is probably the best time to find laptop deals. But don't let the range of configurations and prices stress you out. Here's a guide to back-to-school laptop deals, including the specs that a typical student needs and the price that you can expect to pay.
Buying a Laptop for College: The Components
First things first, while most students probably want one of these monster configurations as their back to school laptop, the truth is that most systems available today are sufficient for the average student. So more importantly, parents should be concerned with overpaying; you don't want to splurge on a laptop with features your student will never use. So what specs are necessary?
Let's first start with the processor. Intel dominates the market, and its processors typically pack more punch than the competition. We recommend looking for systems with a dual-core Core i3 (entry-level) or Core i5 (mainstream) processor. Core i5 systems are more common, and our June data shows that the price difference usually isn't more than $30, so you really should opt for a Core i5 for better performance. As a side note, Intel also offers Core i7 processors, but systems that include this CPU are usually high-end laptops that are designed for cutting-edge PC gaming and HD video editing; so unless your student wants to be the next Scorsese, you don't have to worry much about them. To get the most power for your penny, avoid splurging on a quad-core setup and stick with dual-core configurations.
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Ivy Bridge or Haswell?
Another consideration when assessing the processor on your kid's laptop is the series. Back in June, Intel released its new Haswell processors. Designed to use less power than the previous Ivy Bridge generation, Haswell is worth the upgrade if your student will be spending a large amount of time away from a power outlet, perhaps toting his laptop to classes. An example of Haswell's power comes in the form of the new Haswell MacBook Air, which nearly doubles the battery life of the previous Ivy Bridge MacBook Air. If traditional note-taking and desk-sitting is more in line with your kid's study habits, know that Haswell's performance increase when plugged in is minimal, and you'll save more money (roughly $277 based on our June deals) by opting for an Ivy Bridge system.
So how can you tell which series you're buying? Most retailers don't actually label their laptops as Ivy Bridge or Haswell, so to distinguish between the two, look at the laptop's spec sheet. Ivy Bridge processors have a "3" as their starting number, whereas Haswell systems start with a "4." For instance, a Core i7-4700MQ uses the new Haswell chip while a Core i7-3517U uses an Ivy Bridge chip. ( Continue… )
This year, our National Parks will receive about 280 million visitors, with summer being a peak season. But are you ready? Do you have your boonie hats? Your hiking boots? Your all purpose tool? Well, grab your gear, or pick up some new supplies with our roundup of camping and outdoors deals.
Price: $10.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $5
Is It Worth It?: Exploring the high desert with your fearless (and stylish) accomplice? This pair of hats feature UPF 50, a 3" wide brim, and 3.5" high crown. And scoring this deal surely means you're surely using your noggin.
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Price: $17 with 97-cent s&h
Lowest By: $13
Is It Worth It?: The next time someone tells you to take a hike, smile and show 'em the footwear you nabbed at the lowest total price we've seen for any men's hiking boots. They're available in most sizes 7 to 13, come in Taupe, and feature a PVC/mesh upper, mesh lining, and a padded tongue and footbed. ( Continue… )
You may not think there's a lot left to celebrate this summer, but we say there sure are plenty of places to visit while the sun is high in the sky. This week's best travel deals make it possible for you to fly coast-to-coast or cruise on down to the Caribbean and still have some cash left over for Labor Day fireworks.
American Airlines Nationwide Weekend Roundtrip Flights
Vendor: Shermans Travel
Price: From $112.80
Lowest By: $151
Expires: July 12
Is It Worth It?: We know you're saving those vacation days to extend a Christmastime getaway, so anything but a weekend trip this summer is next to impossible. But thanks to American Airlines' weekend airfare sale, you can still get in that mini vaca while the weather is warm. Destinations include Chicago, Miami, New York, and more.
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This price is valid on flights departing from Dallas, TX, (DFW) to Wichita, KS, (ICT) on July 20 with return on July 23; prices vary depending on the travel cities and dates chosen. Book this travel deal by July 12 for travel July 19 through July 23.
Virgin America 1-Way Fares
Price: From $68.90
Lowest By: $50
Expires: July 31
Is It Worth It?: Famous for its low fares and high-quality service, Virgin America offers nonstop flights to major cities throughout the U.S. for as little as $69 each way. While these fares are for mid-week travel, destinations do include Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, New York, and more.
This price is valid on flights from Los Angeles, CA, (LAX) to San Jose, CA, (SJC) departing on July 24; prices vary depending on the travel cities and dates chosen. A 14-day advance purchase may be required and blackout dates may apply. Book this travel deal by July 31 for travel July 22 through August 28. ( Continue… )
PC gaming devotees: Are you tired of that hulking desktop chaining you down when you want to engage in some FPS mayhem, a marathon strategy session, or some immersive role-play? We feel your pain. Have hope because freedom is within reach! All you need is a good gaming laptop, and the world is your oyster.
What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop
Two things that need to be at the top of your list when you begin to scan the spec sheets: the GPU and CPU. Your graphics processor (GPU) is vital and will determine whether you can play the latest games with all the bells and whistles turned on or not. Ideally, you want something from the Class 1 list in this comparison of laptop graphics cards. Your processor (CPU) needs to be good as well, in order to squeeze the best performance from certain games. Currently, the most high-end choice available is the Haswell Intel Core i7 quad-core processor; if you're on a tighter budget, then a Haswell Core i5 quad-core processor will meet most needs, but keep in mind that not all i5 CPUs are quad. Beyond that, Ivy Bridge processors provide great value too, as they're barely a year old and are seeing considerable discounts now that they're previous-generation.
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Additionally, an SSD (Solid State Drive) will prove a lot faster than a traditional mechanical hard drive and could drastically cut load times. Even though they've come down in price over the last 18 months, SSDs are still more expensive. You'll also want a decent display; the higher the resolution, the better, although it won't make as much of a difference on a smaller screen. Save some money for a good set of headphones, and you're all set.
The Top 5 Gaming Laptops on the Market Right Now
It's hard to look past the Alienware brand: the 9.39-lb M17x hits all the right notes and is called an "excellent gaming laptop" by the experts at Digital Trends. It's fast and powerful, has great quality sound, and offers thoughtful extras like customizable backlighting. PC Mag scores it 4.5 out of 5 and names it a midrange Editors' Choice: "For just under $2,500, you get the bang-for-the-buck champion certainly." ( Continue… )