I’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.
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.