rip offOn occasions I have been accused of not supporting some of my conclusions about Amazon Kindle with hard facts. Well, today I will do so, and with 100% proof that Amazon Kindle are ripping off international ebook customers, as well as authors and publishers of Kindle ebooks. Forget the Amazon excusers who justify this price discrepancy as a VAT or local tax law issue. The simple fact is that if there is no Amazon Kindle Store in the country you live in, which amounts to all but ten countries in the world, you will be ripped off every time you buy a Kindle ebook. There is no excuse, as other US based retailers do not have the gall to say that their prices include free international wireless delivery“, and then charge you for something that they clearly state is free.

To prove Kindle’s rip off, here is one of my own $2.99 ebooks as an example, listed for me to buy here in Switzerland from a number of online retailers. Click on each image to see the retailer page for this ebook here in Switzerland.

Of the six, four US retailers charge my listed price of US$2.99. B&N, Apple, Smashwords and Sony. Kobo charge CHF 2.61, which is the exact exchange rate conversion of US$2.99.

However, Kindle charge US$3.75. A 25% mark up and a rip off.

No wonder my Kindle is in lying in a bottom drawer, uncharged and gathering dust. Thank you, but no thank you Amazon Kindle. There are honest ebook retailers online where I can buy and read an ebook, without being taken for a fool.

I will close by saying however, that Amazon as a retailer of books, are excellent and do not add any charge to text books, paperbacks or hard cover books other than standard and reasonable postage charges. In my work as a teacher, I regularly buy books from Amazon US, UK and France and all of these stores charge the same price.

I do not dislike Amazon.

But I do dislike the fact that international readers, not to mention the authors and publishes who see none of this additional profit, are being ripped off unfairly, and dishonestly by the Kindle Store. There is no excuse and it is time Amazon Kindle either removed this mark up, or at the very least, removed this misleading and dishonest statement from Kindle ebook pages that clearly states:

 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

Being charged an extra $0.76 is not free.

Since posting the above information, I have been sent an image of the Kindle page for this particular ebook in Norway. Thanks to Ole for this image and informing me that Kindle charge US$6.24, which includes VAT. The price without Norway’s VAT is still US$4.99. So who gets the additional US$2.00?


Ole also confirmed that in Norway, Kobo, B&N and Smashwords all charge the correct price of US$2.99.

Amazon Kindle Ebook Price Rip Off
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12 thoughts on “Amazon Kindle Ebook Price Rip Off

  • 16/01/2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Derek, here in South Africa the extra charge from Amazon is $2. So if I charge $3.99 for one of my books, it costs $5.99 here in SA. And I don’t see any of that $2 surcharge. Of course, in SA readers can’t buy from iBooks or Barnes and Noble. We have Kobo available, who converts the price to rands, and don’t charge extra, and they have a huge drive going with their ereaders in Pick and Pay, one of our biggest chainstores. It means I may still get a fan or two in my own country, and I think that in SA at least, Kobo poses a serious threat to Amazon.
    And of course, South Africans can buy all formats from Smashwords, and pay no surcharge. Thank heavens for that.

    • 16/01/2013 at 4:35 pm

      So Niki, I can now confirm that South Africa, Norway and Thailand get whacked with a $2.00 Kindle rip off. I wonder how many other countries get hit the same?

  • 16/01/2013 at 3:40 pm

    In Canada it is selling for $2.99 Canadian. At today’s standard interbank rate (which no retailer uses) that translates to $3.03 US. Using a more normal retail rate +2%, it’s $2.97 US. No surcharges, and ‘free international wireless delivery.’ I’d say in Canada, we’re good…

  • 16/01/2013 at 11:39 pm

    Hopefully, more readers will catch onto this. This is the same type of milking behavior that’s coming from all giant businesses, be they publishers, banks, oil companies, software companies et all. When supply is not diversified, and the market is cornered by one really big supplier, the demand gets stonewalled. Only consumer responsibility will end the empowerment of such giant corporations and their sleazy business practices. Ours is a sad world, where lies are cheaper and easier to sell than truths.

  • 17/01/2013 at 12:11 am

    Is this something that only happens on the non-US Amazon sites? I see your book on Amazon for $2.99.

    • 17/01/2013 at 7:56 am

      The prices examples in the post are all from the Amazon US store Steve. It would appear that from Australia, you don’t get the price increased.

      On the UK store the book is £1.94 = US$ 3.04 but on Amazon Germany it’s Euro 3.36 = US$ 4.46. Each store is accessible to me, but the prices seem to be altered by geo ip.

      • 17/01/2013 at 10:22 am

        I get the same as you at the UK store: £1.94, but from Amazon Germany I see €2.68. Seems there are inexplicable discrepancies at every turn in the Amazon world. Makes me feel even better about buying this one from Smashwords. :-)

  • 17/01/2013 at 2:07 pm

    Forgot this yesterday.
    If you are not logged in to Amazon, you will get US prices on their .com sites. I just tried it with The Sons of Cleito, and it does show up as $2.99.
    If you live outside of US/Canada and have to shop at, that is a good way to check if they have a price hike where you live.


  • 20/01/2013 at 12:49 pm

    On the other side (the author’s), Kobo pays directly into the author’s bank account via EFT. Amazon still uses cheques. URGH! Also, they have accepted my local tax ID number and don’t charge US tax.

    I’ve been very successful at diverting my Amazon sales to Kobo.

    • 20/01/2013 at 1:43 pm

      Hopefully more and more readers will come to discover the benefits of Kobo and other ebook retailers Patty. Fair prices with no DRM are winners for readers. But it will take time for the market to evolve. While Kindle have their ‘One Click’ buying, users will be reluctant to change to two-step purchasing.

      I am not sure if tablets will eventually overtake dedicated proprietary ereaders, but I for one am enjoying the range of ebook buying choices I have now by using a tablet. Being locked into one supplier for anything, including ebooks, is always a bad move.

  • 22/01/2013 at 11:50 am

    Nice post. Does Kindle reimburse money as well on the books bought accidentally online. I mean I want to return the books that I have bought. They have not been downloaded but they have been added to my bought list. What do I do?

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