On 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.