This was a mystery that was driving me crazy, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one puzzled by it. But I finally found the answer by checking Amazon order receipts. The mystery being, why do some of the Amazon Kindle/digital orders close immediately, while others take half a day?
In other words, sometimes when you buy an ebook (or other digital content) you get the order confirmation email immediately, and other times you get it half a day later.
The Answer (SPOILER ALERT) is in the picture above ~ it depends on how you pay for it. If you have a gift card balance on your account, or “slow shipping credits” (Amazon prefers to call them “no rush credits”), the order almost always closes immediately because it is paid off from existing balance or credits.
But if your order is paid (partially or fully) with “new money”, meaning Amazon has to charge your credit or debit card, then their system waits for a few hours to see if you buy any more ebooks, and then it can bundle them together. This helps Amazon avoid lots of credit card fees when someone goes on an ebook buying spree (especially when they have those 99c and $1.99 and $2.99 sales).
It also helps us as consumers as our credit cards don’t get filled up with 99c transactions. I remember in the earlier days of the Google Play store when they had lots of 10c and 25c app sales, they would bill them individually, and my credit card statement was an ugly mess of $0.10 and $0.25 and $0.99 transactions. Now they have gift cards of course and you can load those in your Google Play account, so you don’t have to uglify your credit card statement 🙂