Amazon Australia selling selling locally and, right now, more cheaply

amazon.com.auAmazon has a new amazon.com.au site that prices in Australian dollars. They are encouraging users of the US site to sign on with the Australian site. If you do sign on, they promise all your books will transferred over seamlessly, but your subscriptions will be cancelled and refunded.

My first reaction was skeptical. Given the differential pricing applied to living downunder, I was struggling to see any benefit. Sure I’d get rid of the pesky foreign exchange transaction fees on my credit card, but I’d also put myself much more firmly in the hands of the Amazon pricing team. Although that view hasn’t changed, a quick review suggests that, as of today, pricing for Kindle ebooks is actually lower in Australia.

In fact across a a range of popular ebooks, the Australian price seems to be running at about 6.5% under the US price. Of course, unless Amazon shifts its prices around often, any savings are going to remain dependent upon the exchange rate. But then buying the books in US-dollars left us exposed to the exchange rate too.

It’s also worth noting that this is still firmly a US business. You’re signing up with Amazon Australia Services but it’s a US company and firmly under US law rather than our own far more consumer-friendly legal system.

So even before taking into account bank fees, there are some savings to be made by using the Australian site. Today. I’m not anticipating that those savings will necessarily last, or that Amazon and their publishers wont work to find a way to spuriously charge us more because of the cost of passing electrons under the Pacific, but right now the Australian site looks like a good deal.

As an aside, in researching this article I did a search on ‘Amazon Australia’. Top of the search results is local online book retailer Booktopia which “… has a wide range of books about the Amazon”. Clever Booktopia; you made me smile.

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