The long overdue event has finally happened and Amazon is shipping Kindleworld outside of the US. Will it raise ebook sales – almost certainly? Will it be bought as a Christmas gift for many – almost certainly? Is it a good buy – the jury is out?
The ‘old Kindle’ will ship at a cost of $279 some $20 over the new US price and be available after October 19th and to many countries large and small with some notable exceptions especially Canada and other more understandable ones such as Iran, Iraq, Afganistan.
When you look at the price it doesn’t appear to be what it says. This was pointed out by industry consultant Eoin Purcell who lives in Ireland and found that the true cost to him was not $279 but $364.48 which included a shipping cost of $20.98 which is standard to all orders and an Import fee deposit of $64.50. What is Import fee deposit you ask and we quote the official explanation:
Each item in your order is sold by Amazon Export Sales, Inc. ("Amazon Export") or the merchant that the item is specified as sold by ("Merchant"). Those items for shipment to countries outside of the U.S. may be subject to taxes, customs duties and fees levied by the destination country ("Import Fees"). The recipient of the shipment is the importer of record in the destination country and is responsible for all Import Fees.
With respect to each item for which Import Fees have been calculated, you authorize Amazon Export or Merchant (as applicable) to designate a carrier ("Designated Carrier") to act as your agent with the relevant customs and tax authorities in the destination country, to clear your merchandise, process and remit your actual Import Fees for such item.
"Import Fees Deposit" represents an estimate of the Import Fees that will be levied on the items in your order for shipment to countries outside of the US. By placing your order, you agree to allow Amazon Export and/or Merchant (as applicable) to collect the Import Fees Deposit for the applicable items in your order. This deposit will be used, on your behalf, to reimburse the Designated Carriers for the import fees that they have paid on your behalf to the appropriate authorities of the destination country.
So we looked at the cost for the UK and found that the Import Feed Deposit in our case was less at $45 so making the UK cost on the doorstep $344.98 some $65 more than advertised. Again we also didn’t qualify for free shipping as it was an International order.
So we have a somewhat cobbled together offer which can only be bought via the US store and isn’t available via Amazon.co.uk and one that clearly cost around 25% more because it is coming from the US. This is without the questions of how US content is managed with respect to the 100 countries and rights issues. The price of an ebook is not clear as the the download outside the US costs $1.99 and it would appear that $9.99 now becomes $11.99. Finally in looking through the site there appears to be a disparity between Amazon pages over the number of etitles available.
Why would we buy an old device at a 25% premium that is limited to one store and whose files are not interoperable with other manufacturers devices? Some would suggest that this is purely to ensure a Kindle is on the floor at Frankfurt more than a serious consumer proposition with joined up dots.
A piece from Publishers Lunch which is worth noting too....
But at least for now customers in other countries will avoid the VAT applied to ebook files themselves. As the Times of London notes, "in Britain the tax often makes e-books them more expensive than their printed counterparts." Since the downloads technically come from the US, VAT does not apply.
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