Amazon PricesI’ve written about Amazon UK in the past and the seemingly disconnected way they fit into the Amazon network. At that time it was concerning the availability of my books that were available from every Amazon store other than the UK store. During this episode, I drew the conclusion (as Amazon would not confirm my suspicion) that Amazon UK are a franchise operator and thus pick and choose what they want to carry.

However a few days ago, a reader sent me a message asking why a book I had promoted as free had cost him £0.77 from the Amazon UK Kindle store. As you can imagine, he wasn’t all that happy, and I wasn’t either. So off I went to find out why.

With all the ‘international restrictions’ that apply, it wasn’t possible at first for me to see the UK prices as I don’t live in the UK. So I had to dig a little deeper to find the prices being charged for my ebooks on Kindle.

On the US Kindle store I have ten books available. Five at $2.99, three at $0.99 and one that is free. I decided to look at the three lower priced books and the free book – A victim of Amazon’s Price Matching Feature, but that’s another story.

On the UK Kindle store?

Two of the books are being sold for £0.77. At today’s exchange rate that is $1.17. Nice mark up of $0.18!

One book is priced at £0.88 for some crazy reason. That equates to $1.35. A mark up of $0.36!

Lastly, the book that is listed for free in the US is priced at £0.77. Yes, a tidy $1.17 profit.

And please don’t tell me this has anything to do with VAT.

To check how other stores priced my books, I started with Amazon.fr in France. My free book is free, and the other books are priced at Euro 0.89. That’s $1.18. A little bit higher that the US.

Germany? Another rip off. The same pricing as the UK store.

Italy? The free book is free. But all the other books are priced at Euro 0.93. That’s $1.24. Why the difference in price between Germany, France and Italy who are all in the Euro zone?

Spain. They don’t bother to stock any of my ebooks. Gracias!

But forget Spain. I’m BIG in Japan! Some of my books are there. But unfortunately, not my free book.

Then there was the big surprise for me. Amazon Canada don’t even offer Kindle ebooks. What?

And what about my books at $2.99? Well, I would need a long Excel table to show the number of different prices that are being charged across all Amazon stores. But enough to say that the Amazon stores outside the US were all priced much higher ranging from the equivalent of $3.50 to $4.50.

Conclusion?

If you think Amazon is Amazon, think again. It is not. With the variation in prices and availability between the various store sites, I would really advise buyers to shop around. Amazon famously say that they will reduce their prices to match competitors, and recently  announced their Price Check app with much ado, but this policy and creed clearly doesn’t apply to their own stores.

My advice would be to make your purchases is the US store if it is possible as I am now even more convinced that the other stores around the world are franchises of some description and are applying ‘rip off’ mark ups on Kindle ebook book prices.

Amazon UK – Why The Rip Off?
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9 thoughts on “Amazon UK – Why The Rip Off?

  • 08/02/2012 at 4:44 pm
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    Hi Derek,

    Yeah, the whole thing does my head in.

    I wanted to tell you that, to offer printed copies of your books, you can use lightning source.co.uk. I finally cracked it – they say they only work with publishers, but if you have an imprint in name only, they will print and distribute your books. Pain in the butt with the paperwork, though. It takes a couple of weeks to wade through it all.

    Sabrynne

  • 08/02/2012 at 5:04 pm
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    Hi Sabrynne.

    For the life of me I just can’t fathom the UK POD market. Does everything there have to run like British Rail? :) Why Createspace can’t get books they produce onto Amazon UK is just un-bloody- believable!

    As Createspace is an Amazon owned company, it just tells me yet again that Amazon UK just can’t be.

  • 09/02/2012 at 4:13 am
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    Have been holding off asking about this for a while, hoping that the mystery would unveil itself in due course, but it hasn’t….

    Whaddyamean, Japan and Canada? Where do you see these sales? Does Amazon have a site there? Not on my KDP statement, it doesn’t.

  • 09/02/2012 at 5:54 am
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    Unfortunately if you live in the UK Amazon.com will not allow you to purchase ebooks from their kindle store and instead direct you to the .co.uk version.

    Where that doesn’t happen you can usually change the .com part of the URL to .co.uk and find the same ebook. On a few occasions the author for some inexplicable reason has not authorised Amazon to make the book available worldwide. To me that’s a form of idiocy and an encouragement to piracy.

    As to books not being free in the UK, sometimes a book’s price is set separately by the author in different countries. If the author fails to reset each country then that can happen. it’s also worth noting that promotions through the Select program work on PST – midday in the UK.

    Your $0.99 book in the US should be £0.63 + VAT = £0.76 today (9 Feb 2012 conversion rate) so £0.77 is about right. We don’t pay VAT on paper books though, so charging it on ebooks is something which makes no sense at all in UK tax law.

  • 10/04/2012 at 2:20 pm
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    It is for this same reason that I do not buy from a lot of companies. Value and moral ethics have been substancially eroded fom our society within recent year and the business place is no exception.

  • 11/04/2012 at 11:39 am
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    Good Morning Derek!

    It’s been crazy hectic on this side of the big blue pond… I haven’t been on your blog in a bit. Okay, down to business –

    Amazon Canada & Japan are a scaled down version of Amazon. So books being listed or not listed will always be hit or miss. Advice? If you know someone in either country have them buy direct from Amazon US.

    Pricing – All Amazon outlets reserve the right to adjust pricing as they see fit. Typically with an email and a bit of haggling with them, they’ll adjust the pricing – but they will be quick to tell you they reserve the right to adjust pricing as they want. Nice huh?

    Print books will only be made available by the individual Amazon’s if they see there is a demand for them. It is my understanding the POD in UK can potentially be done in the US then shipped. Higher shipping costs, taxes, etc. Advice? Find a wholesale distributor, set up a company, and put your books through the other Amazon outlets that way.

    For reference, if the books are sent to Amazon US via Lightning Source they have the potential to screw with stock sometimes listing the book as 2-3 weeks out on availability. For a small press like mine we are working directly with Amazon via CreateSpace and putting the books through Ingram for other retail print outlets. Createspace allows for authors to put their books into the wholesale outlets through their expanded distribution. If you own the ISBN on the book, don’t do it. You loose all control over the book at that point and there is a snow ball’s chance in hell the book will ever be found or put into actual retail stores.

    Amazon scares the day lights out of me. They are going to strangle this industry and have a total monopoly.

    Kortney
    Unforgettablebooksinc.com

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