Membership has its privileges in Amazon's physical bookstores

Non-Prime members shopping in the e-commerce giant's brick-and-mortar stores pay list price for books and other items.

Rochelle Garner
Rochelle Garner Features Editor / News
Rochelle Garner is features editor for CNET News. A native of the mythical land known as Silicon Valley, she has written about the technology industry for more than 20 years. She has worked in an odd mix of publications -- from National Geographic magazine to MacWEEK and Bloomberg News.
The Amazon bookstore in Seattle.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in its hometown of Seattle.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The next time you shop at one of Amazon's three physical stores, the cost of that physical book you're holding will depend on whether you have Prime, according to a GeekWire report.

Prime members -- who pay $99 a year for free, two-day shipping and other perks -- get the same discount they see online. Non-Prime members pay the full list price. For devices like the Echo and Fire tablets, in-store and online prices are the same, regardless of whether a customer is a Prime member or not.

Amazon has stores in Seattle, San Diego and Portland, Oregon, and plans to open a fourth in the greater Boston area. Chicago will have a store of its own too, the company said in August.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on GeekWire's report.

Prime customers are estimated to spend roughly twice as much with Amazon than non-Prime shoppers. Yet Prime's popularity is also hurting Amazon's bottom line, thanks to rising shipping costs. The company last week said third-quarter shipping expenses jumped 43 percent, eating into Amazon's profit.

Amazon appears to have a plan around the problem. In just the past month, the online retailer rolled out Audible Channels, Prime Reading and an updated Prime Music -- three new ways to woo members that don't require shipping.