In hindsight it seems a rather brilliant bit of work. I wonder how many other people will try the same thing. Or perhaps did but didn't succeed. In a way I'm surprised that Amazon took the bait. BD had whittled away pretty much most of any real significant pre-order discounts in the last 18 months or so. The free shipping was nice but never offset the Amazon discount on US prices whether you had prime or used simple common sense to bundle orders to always get the $25.00 and over per order free shipping.
I think Amazon might have been a bit snookered. I imagine that even with the heavy cash grabbing up front that BD did with their customers, the drop in pre-orders with loss of the deep discount and the shutting out of US customers on more than half of their UK titles (and most accessible inventory), the top heavy start-up debt had to be ready to topple the whole Potemkin Village. Then again, Amazon might have picked the mess up at a real steal too when all the debt is settled and the pre-order assets are figured out.
In fact with careful consideration I often found much cheaper UK editions either through BD's abeboks account (with still free shipping) or just waiting a month past release and searching Abebooks and putting it on my wish list. Even with shipping costs, it was still cheaper than the few editions as a US customer I could even buy through BD.
One thing I am hoping this move does take us closer to is greater UK edition access here in the US. For a small time Amazon had UK editions at a very significant discount. Rather than BD's form of free shipping, which it would suffer no harm in dropping -- no one else offers free worldwide shipping so where are they going to go? Ah, that's right, many more might consider going Kindle. Owned by, what's that company's name again....? --- I can see Amazon opening up mass shipping of UK editions and then offering them a slightly "tariffed" rate to their US customers much as Amazon UK does for US editions. All the while still putting them under the lure of Prime membership shipping or discounted $25 and over free shipping.
As an Amazon shareholder I'll have to look at the quarterlies a bit closer next time and see what it says the strategy is in that regard. Hope they got BD nice and cheap. And not just as a shareholder. Too frustrating to have a "not available" for pre-order on almost a hundred UK editions already this year that I either had to search out elsewhere or just miss out on until I make my next trip to London and hit the bookstores.