Amazon Kindle Store descends Down Under

Last week, there was a sudden frisson on social media. Amazon.com.au not only worked, but was up and running. The next day, full page advertisements for the Kindle Paperwhite appeared in the state and national newspaper. Could this be the beginning of a full Amazon store in Australia? What does this mean for the book industry? Is it better to switch from the US/UK store and pay in Aussie dollars? What does it all mean?

Well, I can’t tell you what it all means – to quote Monty Python, ‘what does it mean when we say the word mean?’ We’ll just get tangled up in knots of philosophy.

The one thing Australians now have – providing they choose the Aussie store as their ‘home’ is the Kindle Daily Deal. While very, very few Daily Deals from the US or the UK were available here (assuming you were playing everything straight), we now get one to three books to choose from. They’re good books too – often Australian. Local publishers such as Bloomsbury, Allen and Unwin and Harlequin have been quick to offer their books as a Daily Deal. For example, today (19/11/13) the deal book is Barry Maitland’s Dark Mirror
(click on the title for my review). It’s an excellent read and a great introduction into Maitland’s other Kolla and Brock mysteries.

I presume Amazon is hoping you’ll like the book and buy more in the series. Interestingly, a search for more Barry Maitland books brings up this Kindle copy of The Marx Sisters:

While the book is a good read, please don’t pay $50.18 for it! (Read my review here.) This is the first inconsistency I’ve found, but whoa!

Back to the topic of Daily Deals, they’re worth watching. As someone mentioned to me, they’re downright addictive, especially as Amazon can save your details for that all too easy ‘1 Click’ purchase. Last week we had on offer the very popular Phryne Fisher murder mystery The Green Mill Murder. Since then, various Phryne mysteries have been going down in price. Yesterday, the latest book Murder and Mendelssohn (my review here)
was heavily discounted. Today, it’s back up in price but the second book in the series is cheaper. What’s the secret? I don’t know, but I’m keeping a watch on books I want to buy.

How does the Amazon store compare to other eBook retailers? This of course depends on your device and what formats you are capable of reading. Let’s just compare all of them for fun using the assumption you can read whatever eBook format you like. Take The Circle by Dave Eggers.

This is the price at Amazon.com.au – $6.95 AUD:

Amazon.com has the book for USD $6.51 ($6.94 AUD):

Amazon.co.uk is selling the book for £9.99 British pounds ($17.16 AUD):

Kobo sells the book in Australia for $23.19 AUD (note that I did try to buy this book from Kobo and there was no ability to download it. Eventually Kobo told me the format provided meant that the book could not be read on ereaders, despite the website saying that it could. Caveat emptor.) Kobo do often offer discount codes on allowable publishers though.

Sony Reader Store sells the same book for $19.99 AUD:

Big W eBooks offer this book for $29.54 AUD (hint: the physical book is cheaper):

Finally, a glance at the iBooks store has this book at $19.99 AUD.

I think this shows it pays to shop around! There are publishers who use agency pricing (fixed pricing across board, any discount codes don’t apply) so this doesn’t apply to them. It’s about what’s easiest for you – the Australian Amazon store doesn’t have a gift card function as yet, so you need to pay by credit card. Kobo and Big W offer gift cards, which can be bought in store. At the moment, I’m using the Amazon.com.au store (my theory is that they’ll be trying to attract people, hence good deals) but usually check against Kobo and Sony.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you use your local Amazon store – or eBook retailers at all?

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