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Amazon Kindle e-book stores: Australia v US

Date

Adam Turner

Zoom in on this story. Explore all there is to know.

Regional differences: Amazon.com.au, left, and Amazon.com.

Regional differences: Amazon.com.au, left, and Amazon.com.

Amazon's Australian Kindle e-book store can offer better pricing, but check the fine print.

Next time you shop for e-books at Amazon.com you might be asked if you want to switch to the Australian store. It's not a permanent switch, you have the option to change it back in your account settings.

At first glance, Amazon's Australian pricing seems on par with the US store. Tim Winton's upcoming novel Eyrie costs $US16.13 on pre-order at amazon.com or $A17.99 at amazon.com.au – consistent with the 90 cent exchange rate.

If your Amazon account is linked to your Australian credit card then your bank converts US amounts into Australian dollars, but it probably isn't as generous and you might only get 87 US cents to the dollar. On top of this, there's often a "foreign transaction fee" of about 3 per cent. The final price will probably be about $A19.12 – more expensive than if you'd switched to the Australian store.

It's important to note that Amazon inflates its US pricing for Australian customers. If you log out of Amazon, amazon.com still lists Eyrie as US$16.13. Switch on a virtual private network, or VPN, so Amazon thinks you're in the United States, and the price drops to $US12.99 – but you lose access to some Australian books such as Matthew Reilly's The Tournament. Log back into Amazon and Winton's Eyrie jumps up to $US16.13 again if your account is associated with Australia. Now Reilly's The Tournament reappears.

United States
amazon.com

Australia
amazon.com.au

The verdict

The cheapest option is to set up a US Amazon account to access true US prices. Avoid state-based US sales tax and it works out cheaper than shopping from Australia, depending on how you convert your Aussie dollars into greenbacks. But if you're currently paying Amazon's inflated US rate then the Australian Amazon store offers a better deal, especially if you want e-books which aren't in the US store.

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