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Old 09-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #198
Katsunami
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Posts: 3,463
Karma: 15277451
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Device: Kindle Paperwhite
"The morality of circumventing geographical restrictions only to buy cheaper ebooks..."

Today, I have noticed that I do not have any problem with this. Consider that Kobo has a 50% off coupon. I went to buy some books: two series of 5 books each. The price differences between the stores in different countries were HUGE.

Warning, some breakdowns in a very long post are ahead.

First series prices, per book.

Many US stores, including Kobo: $12.99 (€9.75)
Amazon.com $10.95 (€8.20)
Amazon UK, cheapest of the UK sellers: 3.95 pounds, €4.75
Kobo, from Netherlands: €4.95
Kobo, from Netherlands, including 50% coupon: €2.47

So the price per book has fallen greatly during the search:

€9.75 (many stores) -> €8.20 (Amazon US) -> €4.95 (Kobo Netherlands) -> €4.75 (Amazon UK, if I jump restrictions) -> €2.47 (Kobo Netherlands, because of coupon).

I have a Kindle. If I just blindly would have bought at Amazon.com as I'm "supposed to do", this series would have cost me $54.95 (€41.16). Shopping around got me those books for a total of €12.35. Difference: €28.81. For people who have a Kobo and blindly shop at Kobo, it would have been even *more* expensive. $2 per book extra, to be precise, for a total of $64.95/€48.08.

See the differences between those two Kobos... and the Amazons...

Needless to say, I bought the entire series at Kobo through Netherlands for €2.47 a book, mainly because of the coupon.

If I hadn't had a coupon from Kobo, the difference between Kobo Netherlands and Amazon UK would not be big enough to start jumping regional restrictions.

But that, my dear reader, brings us to the second series, all prices per book:

Amazon US store: $9.81 (€7.35)
Kobo through Netherlands: €6.04 (missing book 4 and 5)
Feedbooks (don't know location): €4.49 (missing book 5)
Diesel, cheapest in US for these books: $4.85 (€3.59). Will not accept Dutch credit card/payment for these series. Diesel is out for this series.
Kobo through Netherlands, with 50% coupon: €3.02

Normally Diesel would be cheapest, but I can't buy that series there. No way to jump regional restrictions apart from having a US creditcard AFAIK, which I don't have. If I hadn't had a coupon, I normally would have bought the first 4 books at Feedbooks. Now the coupon made Kobo cheaper.

I almost bought parts 1 to three with Kobo through the Netherlands but wait... if I can buy 1-3 in the Netherlands, while Diesel has 4 and 5 but I can't buy them, then maybe Kobo US has 4 and 5 and will sell them? So I switched my account to Kobo US. Kobo US did not have book 4 and 5 either, but look at the prices for book 1-3:

Kobo trhough US: $6.75 (€5.00)

Still not cheaper than Feedbooks, but wait:

Kobo trhough US, including 50% coupon (works): €2.50.

So the price for the first three books has also fallen greatly:

€7.35 (Amazon US) -> €6.04 (Kobo Netherlands) -> €5 (Kobo US) -> €4.49 (FeedBooks) -> €3.02 (Kobo Netherlands with coupon) -> €2.50 (Kobo US with coupon)

I almost resigned myself to buying book 4 at FeedBooks, and then maybe... just maybe get Book 5 at Amazon US and pay the extra price, because I can't get it anywhere else without bumping into regional restrictions I can't resolve. But wait. Let's take a look at Luzme.com.

Result: Amazon UK sells these books for 3.05 (€3.65) pounds a piece, and they have all of them.

Cheaper than Kobo US, but it can't match Kobo US + Coupon.

So, I I got the first three books at Kobo US including the coupon. Then I moved my Amazon Digital account from Amazon US to UK by creating a UK address, and bought the forth and fifth book at Amazon UK for €3.65.

In the end, had I just bought all of the books of the second series at Amazon US, which would be expected because I have a Kindle, I would have paid $49.64 / €36.75. By jumping regional restrictions twice and using that coupon, I paid $19.15 / €14.18.

This saves me $30.49 / €22.57 for this series.

========================================

So to summarize:
I've bought 8 out of 10 books outside my own walled garden.
I've jumped regional restrictions twice (in the same series).
I've used a 50% coupon that would have been useless had I stayed in the WG.

Price when staying within walled garden of Amazon US:

5 x €8.20 (First series)
5 x €7.35 (Second series)
=======
€ 77.75

Price jumping the walled garden fence, but inside georestrictions (no coupon):

5 x €4.95 (First series, Kobo Netherlands)
4 x €4.49 (Second series, four books, Feedbooks)
1 x €7.35 (Second series, fifth book, Amazon US, only option)
=======
€ 50.06

Jumping the walled garden saves €27.69 / $ 37.40 for these 10 books.

Price jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions (still without coupon)

5 x €4.95 (First series, Kobo Netherlands)
5 x €3.69 (Second series, all books, Amazon UK)
========
€ 42.20

Jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions saves €35.55 / $ 48.02 for these 10 books.

And lastly, bouncing all over the fracking planet with a 50% Kobo coupon in hand (so always looking at Kobo first):

5 x €2.48 (First series, Kobo Netherlands, Jumped WG + coupon)
3 x €2.50 (Second series 1-3, Kobo US, Jumped WG + Geo + coupon)
2 x €3.69 (Second series 4-5, Amazon UK, Jumped Geo)
=======
€ 27.28

Jumping the walled garden AND geo-restrictions AND using a huge coupon (a coupon that would have been useless had I stayed in the WG) saves €50.47 / $ 68.17 for these 10 books.

Conclusion:

1. Is it worth to look beyond your walled garden: Very. Possibly lower prices, more options for coupons and deals. In this case, it would have saved 35%, even without coupons.
2. Is it worth it to jump geo-restrictions in addition to the WG: Yes, it is. You could possibly save another 15-20%.
3. Is it worth it to this, even if you have a big fat coupon in hand? HELL YES, even more so. This is the bee's knees on savings. Find the lowest prices and lower them further with coupons if possible. In this particular case, this brought savings of 65%.


And no, I have no moral objections doing this. This is the fracking 21st century, and we have internet now. These books are digital products that can be bought and acquired using said internet, from all over the world. All restrictions are artifical to make you pay more. I hate to pay more, and I hate artifical restrictions even more.

The entire world now competes, and I'm just a customer shopping around, just as I would have locally 20 years ago for smaller purchases, or maybe on a national level, for a very big purchase. Now, using the internet, the entire world is a mall for those who wish to look further than their own city or even country. I'm doing what I'd do in a non-internet world: visiting stores, choosing one (with price dictating most of the choice), paying the prices that are asked for stuff (in the cheapest stores I can find), and using deals and coupons as I would in any other store; and therefore I don't feel that I'm "stealing" or anything.

Please note that this breakdown is based on only two series, but it does clearly show that, depending on what you read, jumping the walled garden, geo-restrictions, or both can be very profitable. And we're not even talking about the coupons that become available that you wouldn't be able to use if you stayed inside the walled garden. Savings up to between 35 and 65% are possible.

Oh, and apparently: depending on what you read, Amazon is not always the least expensive.

Last edited by Katsunami; 09-18-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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