Is Amazon's local Kindle store good value?

AmazonComAU
Rejoice, Australia, because Amazon’s launched a local Kindle store with pricing in Australian dollars. But are we getting good value for money?
I’ve already written over at the ABC about the launch of the new store and Kindle Fire HDX tablets, but it wasn’t until right now that the store itself was actually available. Previously if you headed to www.amazon.com.au, you’d get redirected to the US site; now it goes to a Kindle-only storefront with prices in direct Australian dollars.
That got me thinking about book availability, so I checked out a few favourite authors. The results gave me serious pause for thought.
To take a single anecdotal example, Robert Rankin’s The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age, which, as coincidence would have it, I picked up not that long ago for Kindle via the US store, because that was the style at the time. It’s an eBook so delivery costs are not-quite-but-near-to zero, but there are rights payments to be made. What does it cost across Kindle stores?
[table]
Kindle eBook Pricing,,,
,Amazon.com.au,Amazon.com,Amazon.co.uk
The Mechanical Messiah and Other Marvels of the Modern Age ,$11.99 ,$US7.99 (~$8.59 AUD),£4.99 (~$8.53)
[/table]
The links there should lead to the books, but you may be told that the pricing information is “unavailable”. That’s Amazon’s coy way of hiding its real eBook prices for international buyers if you’re already logged into their system under an Australian account or IP address. They’re still accurate quoted prices from Amazon at the time of writing.
Still, Rankin might be a little unfair — it’s not exactly mainstream. So what if I dip into mainstream fiction with George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones?
[table]
Kindle eBook Pricing,,,
,Amazon.com.au,Amazon.com,Amazon.co.uk
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1),$4.99 ,$US2.90 (~$3.11 AUD) ,£3.66 ($6.25)
[/table]
That’s interesting, and it pretty much confirms what I would have thought. Amazon is the big fish when it comes to eBooks, but it doesn’t control the market with quite as much power as, say, iTunes did in its heyday.
Instead, it’s at the mercy of the local publishing arms in each territory, which is why the Brits pay more for Game of Thrones than we do — but the US still pays less.
What’s the practical upshot of all this? Amazon officially wants you to register your Kindle in its primary territory and price accordingly, but it (seemingly) does very little to actually enforce that. I’d certainly advise shopping around based on your own book tastes — these are data points, but they’re quite anecdotal — and think long and hard if you’ve already got a Kindle before switching to the Australian store.

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

Comments

  1. Another way to make more money, obviously, for publishers rather than Amazon.
    There’s simply no reason to make a new digital store for other regions.. not even the UK store is really needed… but publishers want more money wherever they can take it..
    Hopefully I will be able to continue using the Kindle USA store via VPN and my current account I’ve had for many years.

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