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Old 11-04-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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So I was thinking

I have been thinking about the charge that all our international friends are forced to pay when ordering a book... even the free ones.
I am thinking... would it not be easier to allow you to purchase a book without it being have to be sent to a Kindle, this will allow you to simply purchase the book and download it to their computer and then upload to the kindle.

Amazon saves money by not having to send it to you wireless and the costumer saves by not paying the wireless fee.

Am I thinking too much on something so simple
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:10 PM   #2
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I have written to Amazon suggesting exactly this.

My guess is that they want to keep the "download direct to Kindle" option as a competitive advantage abroad, and are hoping that by hiding the fee for the international download in the book price, people in general won't notice it.

If they split it out as a separate per-download to Kindle fee, perhaps people would want to use the direct-to-kindle option less, which means it's no longer a competitive advantage vs. the other ebook readers.

Personally, I think this is a silly notion, and that making books as cheap as possible should be their aim, not adding on a compulsory $2+VAT to every book. But then, I haven't founded a multi-billion dollar company.


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Originally Posted by rcuadro View Post
I have been thinking about the charge that all our international friends are forced to pay when ordering a book... even the free ones.
I am thinking... would it not be easier to allow you to purchase a book without it being have to be sent to a Kindle, this will allow you to simply purchase the book and download it to their computer and then upload to the kindle.

Amazon saves money by not having to send it to you wireless and the costumer saves by not paying the wireless fee.

Am I thinking too much on something so simple
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
... are hoping that by hiding the fee for the international download in the book price, people in general won't notice it.
I think that's right.

Remember that the majority of customers won't be people like us who study the ebook market, compare prices and share our experiences. For the typical Kindle purchaser outside the US, their local price will be the only one they ever see. They'd have no reason to visit the US Kindle store (probably wouldn't even know there was such a thing), so wouldn't even know they were paying an extra $2.
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Old 11-04-2009, 06:27 PM   #4
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I don't really understand the extra fee, is it a kickback for publisher? Some kind of carrot to entice publishers to allow international sales despite piracy/licensing misgivings?

It was one of the disappointments for my international friends who ordered one.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by fugazied View Post
I don't really understand the extra fee, is it a kickback for publisher? Some kind of carrot to entice publishers to allow international sales despite piracy/licensing misgivings?

It was one of the disappointments for my international friends who ordered one.
It's nothing to do with publishers. If a US user travels abroad with his International Kindle, he will pay $2 for each book downloaded via Whispernet while in another country. And this for both new buys and downloads of books that were bought before but later deleted from the kindle. Each download costs $2. This is to cover costs with the wireless networking, which is higher in most countries than in the US.

Obviously, what Amazon did was embed the $2 dollar fee in the price of international purchases. One difference though: when I buy a book I pay 2 dollars more than if I bought it in the US, but then I can download this book from the Amazon servers how many times I want. So while a US user on roam has to pay for each download, I just pay $2 once for each book.

For public domain books I try to get them from free sources anyway, and many books posted here in mobileread and other sites are actually better formatted for the kindle than the "free" (to me $2) books that Amazon offers.

Of course I'd prefer to not have to pay more, but most e-books have prices in the same range as the paper book, or somewhat cheaper, and in the case of the p-book I'd have to pay at least 5-6 dollars on shipping (if I order more than 4 or 5 books at a time; for just one book I'd pay around 12 dollars on the cheapest shipping option). So overall it is a good deal, I think.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:03 PM   #6
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Am I thinking too much on something so simple
Not at all; Amazon has changed their process here in the US so you can now download on your computer without also automatically sending to a Kindle or iPhone.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:07 AM   #7
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We can do that internationally too - but we still get charged the higher fee.

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Not at all; Amazon has changed their process here in the US so you can now download on your computer without also automatically sending to a Kindle or iPhone.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:14 AM   #8
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Amazon have arrange for international wireless access in an expensive way. But the advantage is that it was very quick to roll out.

In the US they have a bulk arrangement with AT&T for the data from their servers to the Kindles in the US. This is cheap.

Internationally, they've taken advantage of AT&T's roaming agreements that are already in place with lots of other telecoms companies around the world. Unfortunately, international roaming data rates are very high. Thus the $1.99 charge for Americans downloading abroad, and the built-in fee for International users.

If they had set up their own servers in other countries, and had made arrangements with each local telecom company, within each country it would have been possible for Amazon to absorb the cost.

But they wouldn't have been able to roll out to so many countries so quickly - just look at how few country-specific Amazon web sites there are, compared to how many countries can use the International Kindle.

So I think they did the right thing to use high-cost data roaming agreements for the international Kindle. But I think they're wrong to hide the cost from international consumers by raising the base price of every book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fugazied View Post
I don't really understand the extra fee, is it a kickback for publisher? Some kind of carrot to entice publishers to allow international sales despite piracy/licensing misgivings?

It was one of the disappointments for my international friends who ordered one.
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Old 11-05-2009, 01:21 PM   #9
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I just look at it like this: "Vote with your wallet."

I've been downloading fewer and fewer books from Amazon, and more from other sites. It takes long enough to read a book that having to use a USB cable instead of 3G wireless isn't a big deal.

I've also found that the formatting elsewhere is generally better than Amazon's.
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Old 11-05-2009, 02:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
Amazon have arrange for international wireless access in an expensive way. But the advantage is that it was very quick to roll out.

In the US they have a bulk arrangement with AT&T for the data from their servers to the Kindles in the US. This is cheap.
This is most lilkey the case. It was reported that Amazon was having a difficult time with negotiations of European telecon companies. This was probably what was causing Amazon to delay it's international solution.


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I just look at it like this: "Vote with your wallet."

I've been downloading fewer and fewer books from Amazon, and more from other sites. It takes long enough to read a book that having to use a USB cable instead of 3G wireless isn't a big deal.

I've also found that the formatting elsewhere is generally better than Amazon's.
You live in the states right, I don't think the $2+VAT is effecting you? I don't think you would have to download via the USB to avoid charges.

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Old 11-05-2009, 02:36 PM   #11
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By the way, several people here have referred to an extra charge of $2 plus VAT. I think the $2 surchage is for wireless delivery and VAT, that is, the VAT is included in the $2. At least, all the books I've seen in the "international" Kindle store are flagged as such.

On another point, not all books are more expensive outside the US. Some examples:
  • The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb: US price $9.99. European price $9.13
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson: US price $9.99. European price: $5.73

On the other hand ...
  • Blindman's Bluff by Faye Kellerman: US price: $9.99. European price: $20.88.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
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If you choose "Europe" you see the prices without VAT. I don't know whether they add your local VAT in checkout.

If you choose "UK" you'll see the prices with VAT. All the books that are free in the US store that are also available in the UK store are $2.30, i.e. $2 plus 15% VAT


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By the way, several people here have referred to an extra charge of $2 plus VAT. I think the $2 surchage is for wireless delivery and VAT, that is, the VAT is included in the $2. At least, all the books I've seen in the "international" Kindle store are flagged as such.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:47 AM   #13
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If you choose "Europe" you see the prices without VAT. I don't know whether they add your local VAT in checkout.

If you choose "UK" you'll see the prices with VAT. All the books that are free in the US store that are also available in the UK store are $2.30, i.e. $2 plus 15% VAT
Thanks for the clarification. I assumed that what was true for the UK was true for Europe as a whole. It doesn't seem logical otherwise: why would there be a different system for just one country. But that's what seems to be the case.

Perhaps they should flag Europe as "Europe except UK". But then what about the countries that are in Europe but not in the EU, and therefore perhaps don't have VAT (or don't require VAT on electronic imports).

Complicated, isn't it?
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