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Old 10-23-2010, 07:35 AM   #1
gxtal
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Whispernet Tax

Hi,

What's the story with the Whispernet Tax? Is it a policy that is documented anywhere?

The reason I ask is that, being from Australia, we have a pathetically small range of books to choose from in the Kindle store. If that wasn't enough, we often get slugged an additional $2 over what is in the US store.

I've seen comments that this is due to Amazon subsidising their 3G costs by adding a fee to the purchase. As I'm using an iPad and iPhone, and therefore not Amazon's 3G service, I don't see why I should be paying extra.

I've queried Amazon a few times on this issue and have been told that the costs are due to regional variations, taxes etc and separately that there are no 3G charges. From what I can see, they are just regurgitating whatever script Amazon have given them.

However, the same books are in Smashwords for $2 less and also $2 less when browsing the US Kindle store.

Has anyone had any success getting a clear answer on this or the cost reduced?

On my last purchase I asked for a $2 refund on the grounds I did not use Whispernet, but the whole book was refunded.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:03 AM   #2
HarryT
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The surcharge is to permit you to download the book via 3G should you buy a "real" Kindle in the future. Look at it this way: suppose you bought 100 books and didn't get the $2 per book added on. You then buy a 3G Kindle; would you be happy for Amazon to charge you $200 at that point?

Really, applying the data roaming charge at the point of sale is the only sensible way to do it.

The surcharge is gradually being removed as Amazon do deals with local telecoms operators around the world. We lost it here in the UK earlier this year.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
The surcharge is to permit you to download the book via 3G should you buy a "real" Kindle in the future. Look at it this way: suppose you bought 100 books and didn't get the $2 per book added on. You then buy a 3G Kindle; would you be happy for Amazon to charge you $200 at that point?

Really, applying the data roaming charge at the point of sale is the only sensible way to do it.

The surcharge is gradually being removed as Amazon do deals with local telecoms operators around the world. We lost it here in the UK earlier this year.
The only sensible way? Why would it not be sensible for them to build the cost into the cost of the 3g kindle, and/or the sim card for those units?

Books should be able to be set up as low bandwidth , low priority traffic that cost the data carriers pretty much no marginal costs. Till then it would seem that not pricing in the unused cell data for people that never use it could increase sales of ebooks which seems a goal of Amazon overall.

While it is an easy way for them to make sure they get paid for the potential of the book being downloaded through a cell carrier, and does make sense on many levels, I do think good cases can be made for other sensible ways for them to handle it.
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Old 10-23-2010, 10:08 AM   #4
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Books should be able to be set up as low bandwidth , low priority traffic that cost the data carriers pretty much no marginal costs.
They are; there's no surcharge if you buy the book in a country where Amazon has an deal with a telecoms operator (eg AT&T in the US, or Vodafone in the UK). It's data roaming that incurs the costs.
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