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Old 08-15-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
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More Whispernet Fee Reductions - Canada

One of the best aspects of the Kindle is the ability to browse Amazon and one-click a title directly to your Kindle over 3G. Even better, you can get a sample chapter of virtually every title first, and, having sampled and enjoyed, one click right from the device and grab the whole thing.

(Aside: I've only actually browsed the Amazon store from my Kindle a couple of times; I always browse and buy online -- unless I'm following direct from a sample.)

Canada's Amazon store (amazon.ca) does not sell Kindle devices or e-books. All our purchases are from amazon.com and paid for ins US dollars. So far, there are no local taxes paid on purchases that arrive entirely electronically (like e-books; physical goods attract taxes coming across the border but Amazon collects these fees upfront so it's not an impediment in the delivery process).

When Kindle was released to Canadian buyers in Nov 2009 one couldn't help but notice a $2 Whispernet "tax" attached to every title. Even though Amazon has established a rate of 15¢/MB for data delivery of personal documents, it was hard to understand why $2 was necessary regardless of the price or length of the e-book.

In May 2010, 3G was opened up for Canadians including "unlimited" web browsing. (Curiously, we still can't get blogs, not even ones from Amazon.) The $2 fee was dropped on many "free" items like Sherlock Holmes and the occasional free mainstream book.

By June, it appeared that the tax was selectively melting away on some titles, but not others. When the Wylie exclusive deal was announced, all the titles were $11.99, not $9.99: the hidden Whispernet tax had struck again. And other titles -- like those also on Smashwords at $0.99 or $2.99 were mysteriously $2 more in Canada via Kindle.

This tax, btw, could easily be seen vs the Kobo bookstore where identical titles were often priced $2 lower than Amazon. (Kobo charges in Canadian dollars and applies local taxes on top of the displayed price.)

There's been some serious movement in the past couple of weeks. All those Wylie titles are $9.99, not $11.99; Rex Stout backlist has aligned with US pricing; and I noticed Agatha Christie (Harper Collins) are now below $5, shorn of their delivery barnacle. It's also evident in the New York Times list which were invariably $11.99 in Canada -- these are now $9.99 (except where the agency pricing is $12.99 etc).

Final note: on the Canada terms and conditions for the Kindle, it still warns of $11.99 fees for New York Times Best-sellers, but blogs are now to be included over WiFi.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:09 PM   #2
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That's good to hear. We lost our $2 fee in the UK a few months ago. Looks as if Amazon are doing more and more deals with local telecoms operators rather than "roaming" from AT&T.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:23 PM   #3
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I've been seeing it too - to the point where some books in Canada are coming up cheaper than in the US.

Jenny Crusie's (MacMillan) upcoming release Maybe This Time is $11.99 US and $9.99 Canada

http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-This-Tim...1896578&sr=1-1
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:35 PM   #4
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Yes, and there are other examples of this secondary phenomenon. What we are seeing is the difference between US only deals and the Canadian subsidiary. You'll see different pricing for Penguin USA and Penguin Canada, in some cases. Peter Robinson's Aftermath is sold in a McClelland and Stewart Kindle edition on Amazon for Canadians but it's a HarperCollins Kindle release in the US.
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