Amazon just raised the minimum order to $49 to get free shipping. I suspect that their goal is to drive shoppers to Prime and it's free shipping. I'm not sure the minimum shipping rate is the manner to do it. I just looked at three items on Amazon and then compared the prices on eBay. The same exact brand of maple extract was three dollars cheaper on eBay and with shipping was within a few cents of the price listed on Amazon. Note the same price but including shipping while on Amazon you would have to come up with $42 more of products to get the free shipping. It was the same for the ink cartridges I looked at. $4.50 including shipping on eBay while Amazon was $6.06 plus an additional $42 to get the free shipping on a Canon compatible ink cartridge. Amazon did have an alternative at $5.84 including shipping.
I really like Amazon and I am luke warm regarding eBay. However the increase to $49 to get "free" shipping is providing me with the incentive to shop rather than just go order it on Amazon. Frankly it strikes me as a poor business decision if it encourages people to shop other venues.
Faus Pax Amazon, Faus Pax!