FollowUp: Eish! Amazon Kindle Store Pricing Con?

From the Eish! DepartmentOn Sunday 1st May, I did a post about the pricing of an ebook in the Amazon Kindle Store.

To recap, it seems that the Amazon Kindle store sets the prices of good dependent on your geographic location.  If you in the USA you may get the ebook for free, the same ebook is $2.00 in South Africa, while the folks in Europe will have to pay $15,00+ to have the privilege to read it.

Anyway as promised, here is an update on the whole story, 4 emails later…

This was the second response from Amazon about my query on why the prices are different dependent on geographic location, first one was pretty much the same:

Hello,

I’ve read our previous e-mail with you, and I’m sorry all of your concerns weren’t addressed in previous correspondence.

After researching, I have confirmed that “Let’s Go Europe 2011: The Student Travel Guide” is offered with price listing of $0.00 in United States but $2.00 in Africa.

Unfortunately, Publishers grant eBook rights on a country by country basis, as a result availability and pricing of titles in the Kindle Store can vary by your home country or region.

I completely understand your disappointment in this regard but we are actively working with publishers to get the rights to all titles for every country and adding more selection every day.

Whenever you purchase a Kindle book, we display your home country or region at the top of the Kindle Store on Amazon.com so you know you are browsing content and prices specific to your country or region.

When shopping on your Kindle, it automatically picks up the home country or region from your account information and displays only content eligible for purchase and delivery in your home country.

If you simply wish to browse titles in the Kindle Store on Amazon.com to see the selection available by country or region, log out of your Amazon.com account by clicking the “(Not Your Name)” link at the top of the page.

You can update your home country or region on the Manage Your Kindle Page (www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle). Scroll down to the “Your country” section and select the “Edit” option. You’ll also find helpful information on our Using Kindle If You Live Outside the United States Help page (www.amazon.com/kindleinternationalsupport).

Customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we’re glad you took time to write to us. Rest assured that the Kindle Team will carefully review your comments.

To help you, I’ve requested a refund of $2.00 for “Let’s Go Europe 2011.” If the item is still on your Kindle (or a Kindle-compatible device), please delete that copy. After the refund is issued, you will no longer be able to access this item.

Refunds are issued to the payment method used to make the original purchase and usually complete within two to three business days.

Again, I’m sorry. Thanks for using Kindle.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3P755FTOW&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3P755FTOW&k=hn

Best regards,

Janice V.
Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.
http://www.amazon.com/your-account

I was still not comfortable with the reply on the reason why books prices are different and highlighted again that the book ironically was more expensive in Europe than anywhere else.  This was the last correspondence:

Hello,

I’ve reviewed our previous correspondence and your account. I understand you’re concerned about the pricing difference for Kindle books in different locations.

Please be informed that we do not charge you for wireless delivery of Kindle books. Your wireless Whispernet connection is free and included with your Kindle purchase. There’s no wireless set-up, no confusing service plans, no contracts or commitments, and no monthly wireless bills.

Fees apply if you receive regularly scheduled issues of your newspaper, magazine, and blog subscriptions wirelessly if you’re a U.S. customer traveling outside the United States. There is no fee for receiving books or single issues of periodicals wirelessly. Browsing the Kindle Store and using Kindle’s web browser are also free.

It is the publisher or the author who owns that content decides the price on a Kindle book. Also, Pricing of titles from the Kindle Store varies by your country or region due to differences in digital list prices, local market segment prices, and tax rates.

Because of these circumstances, I’ve issued a promotion of $10.00 to your Amazon.com account to be used on a future purchase of Kindle content. These promotional funds can only be used on Kindle books sold by Amazon.com and cannot be applied to Kindle books sold directly by the publisher. Please accept it as a goodwill gesture and an apology for any inconvenience.

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Kindle.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=AWE3XFD&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=AWE3XFD&k=hn

Best regards,

Bittu G.
Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.
http://www.amazon.com/your-account

Am I happy that I got a refund?  Yes even though it is just $2.00 it is the principle of it.

Am I happy that they gave me a $10.00 credit on the Kindle Store? No as it feels like “shut up” money and I was not expecting it nor do I think I will be using it anytime soon.

Am I happy with the reasons they gave about the different pricing?  No not really, and although I may no understand completely how their business works, I still feel that if you are selling goods on the internet you should charge $X.XX per item regardless of geographic location, and then if you want to make some “fat” on the sale do so on the delivery of the item.

Alternatively average out the cost among all the regions and charge that. In which case this ebook would have cost: $3.58  regardless of where you stay.

Lets say I really hope that Amazon changes their pricing policy as I am sure there are other people out their that feel the same way that I do and will eventually stop purchasing from them because of it.

MadMike posted at 2011-5-6 Category: Eish!

One Response Leave a comment

  1. #1Vaughan @ 2011-5-7 14:27 Reply

    Hi Mike,

    I’m a longtime South African Kindle user, so I share all the frustrations of not being able to get certain ebooks or getting some titles at inflated prices compared to the US/UK. That said, I’ve researched this issue for all this time and it is most definitely not the fault of Amazon so it’s not a matter of them changing ‘their’ pricing policy. Initial pricing is set by the publishers and when to release a title in various territories is determined by the local publishers.

    I’m sure you’ve followed the many battles Amazon has had with publishers over the last couple years especially regarding the Agency Model, which effectively took the power away from Amazon. I have nothing but admiration for Amazon being the *only* international ebook retailer willing to take up publishing issues head-on. Not even Apple, with all its commercial clout, has bothered trying to get its iBookstore outside of the US. In fact, they pioneered the Agency Model and are intrinsically responsible for the issues we currently face.

    I do agree that the $2 extra for us is strange and haven’t yet determined whether this is the publisher or a ‘hidden’ fee from Amazon for Whispernet delivery (even though they state it is free). That said, there is a small handful of truly free, as in $0, Kindle books available – the most high-profile being published by Amazon, so again the publisher seems to be the culprit.

    I don’t see the gift certificate as a “shut up” – you were dissatisfied and they wanted to give you something in a show of good will to keep you coming back. Ultimately, ebook customers need to expend their energy targeting the publishers, not Amazon.

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