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Amazon Hobbles Features For International Kindle

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the someone-call-me-when-the-sinister-starts dept.

Handhelds 166

Barence writes "Amazon has stripped several key features out of the international edition of the Kindle, PC Pro has discovered. Newspapers and magazines are delivered without any photos, and the web browser has been disabled, presumably because Amazon doesn't want to foot the data bill. There's also a 40% premium on books bought via the Amazon store. 'International customers do pay a higher price for their books than US customers due to higher operating costs outside of the US,' an Amazon spokesperson confessed."

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Another troll summary? (5, Insightful)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838007)

1) The browser is not a "key feature" - it's barely useable and not an advertised/supported feature anyway.
2) Calling the Amazon explanation a "confession" seems a little biased...sounds quite reasonable to me to charge more if their costs are higher.

Re:Another troll summary? (5, Interesting)

blowdart (31458) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838115)

OK what costs? Scanning/turning into an e-book? I'd bet that the vast majority of the offered titles are the same as they offer in the US, and processed/made in the US (or wherever it gets outsourced to) - so there's no extra cost there? Hosting could be an additional cost, Amazon do have a data centre in Dublin, London and Frankfurt, but bandwidth isn't that much more expensive here. Tax? Well perhaps, although books tend not to be taxed in the UK - who knows how ebooks will be treated though. Or it's the typical US move of take the dollar price and convert it to pounds or euros by changing the currency symbol.

Re:Another troll summary? (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838285)

OK what costs? Scanning/turning into an e-book?

I think distributions rights get really complicated across regions and countries. If someone owns the rights to digital distributions or all distributions of a work, Amazon's probably got to pay them a premium for their market. Just look at DVDs, I can't even by "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence [wikipedia.org] " in the states. I would imagine selection would be vastly hobbled for several reasons across different countries. And let's not forget Germany's regulation of book prices [slashdot.org] "in an effort to protect authors, publishers, and small booksellers." There could be a lot of factors at work here--most of which are specific to a single country.

Re:Another troll summary? (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838359)

It's amazing they let you cross borders with books in your possession. "I'm sorry, senior, but your copy of HP Lovecraft's Best is still under copyright in our country, we will have to seize it, fine you ten million pesos. As well, we see this is the third time you have tried to cross the border in such a fashion. Last time it was Shakespeare's Portfolio, which we explained to you was owned by Sony Bono's widow, and before that it was Homer's Iliad, which the Walt Disney Corporation has filed ownership for. Since this is your third violation, you will no longer be permitted to read books. Please lean back while I gouge your eyes out.,,"

What a moronic and ludicrous world IP law has created.

Re:Another troll summary? (5, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838449)

What a moronic and ludicrous world IP law has created.

IP law didn't create the world you're describing, you did.

Re:Another troll summary? (3, Funny)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838595)

What a moronic and ludicrous world IP law has created.

IP law didn't create the world you're describing, you did.

In fact, you own it! And now if I wanted to create a similar story you could sue me. Wow, this is cool!

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Insightful)

MankyD (567984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838571)

It's not IP Law. It's marketing and, as frustrating as the end result is, it is completely reasonable in the bigger picture. If a product maker wants to sell their product for different prices in different places, then by all means, go for it. Furthermore, if an product maker needs to translate or in some other way localize their product for international markets, then that adds costs. There's nothing inherently wrong with adjusting your product for the market your selling in.

Then this should be true also: (4, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839165)

[b]There's nothing inherently wrong with adjusting your product for the market your selling in.[/b]

Then there should be nothing inherently wrong with me buying a product in any market available to me to buy from.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

Jace Harker (814866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839121)

It's amazing they let you cross borders with books in your possession.

The problem is not crossing a border with a book you already own. The problem, for Amazon, is having the rights to sell a book in a different country. Plus higher wireless costs. Plus VAT. All in all, I'm surprised the price is bump is as small as 40%.

PC Pro has discovered. ... an Amazon spokesperson confessed.

The OP summary is quite a troll. PC Pro hasn't "discovered" anything: all of this information was easy to find on the International Kindle website the day it was announced.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839071)

So if I'm in the UK, why won't they let me buy content for the Kindle from the US? That's right, because they want to charge higher prices.

I spent five months in Australia earlier this year. The book market there is out of control, and I ended buying from Amazon.co.uk because it was cheaper to have them shipped from the other side of the planet. For example, the Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand was $45 in Australia. It cost me $37, include $15-20 shipping to get it from the UK. That's disgusting. Amazon I think would like to be able to enforce higher prices.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

mrboyd (1211932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839535)

Strangely amazon has absolutely zero issue shipping hardcopy book to Europe when I buy from the US store.

Re:Another troll summary? (5, Funny)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838343)

There may be a significant cost in converting from Letter size to A4.

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838377)

Tax? Well perhaps, although books tend not to be taxed in the UK - who knows how ebooks will be treated though.

TFA says that EU taxes on ebooks are higher than paper books; if it's like most other VAT that's 20% right there, your $10 book becomes $12.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838769)

Pardon me for being horribly American here, but... there the EU has a a tax on books? Why?
(Yes, I know I pay taxes on books indirectly via sales taxes)

Re:Another troll summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29839057)

Pardon me for being horribly American here, but... there the EU has a a tax on books? Why?
(Yes, I know I pay taxes on books indirectly via sales taxes)

Well you've just answered your own question, haven't you? The EU has a tax on books because everything is taxed by default under a VAT, unless a country creates a specific exemption - for example the UK exempts medical devices and most foods, among many other things.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839061)

Pardon me for being horribly American here, but... there the EU has a a tax on books?
The EU has a tax on almost all products sold called VAT. It's similar to a sales tax though the details differ.

VAT rates are allowed to vary across the EU within certain limits and some product categories in some countries attract rates lower than the standard rate for that country.

Books generally get a reduced or sometimes even zero rate but this then requires a definition of what counts as a book. IIRC the rules on that vary by country.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839717)

In the UK, hard copy books are exempt from VAT (sales tax). As I understand it, ebooks are not exempt. That's an immediate 15% (normally 17.5%, but we had a temporary cut for some obscure reason) on top of the price.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29840053)

Ahh, okay, that makes sense. It sounded like ebooks had a specific tax on them or something strange like that.

No ebook VAT in the UK (1, Informative)

ed (79221) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838779)

books are not taxed, ebooks are treated as books

Re:No ebook VAT in the UK (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839039)

No they're not treated as books. Do you regularly make pronouncements on things you obviously know nothing about ? And the previous poster was talking shit too. VAT is currently 15% across most of Europe. And Amazon have decided to use AT&Ts global roaming network to provide the data link to Kindles. Why use a US based company with extortionate rates and peering costs when there are cheaper options already in place in the EU ? Total fail.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839093)

Don't you remember the story a year or two ago about people importing real books from the UK in to the US, because they are cheaper in the UK (especially for university books).

Re:Another troll summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29839403)

I'm not sure how it is now, but there was a point where you could get some new textbooks for cheaper by simply buying from amazon's UK site instead of its US site. And by cheaper I mean you still payed less considering shipping and the conversion rate.

Then the dollar started going to shit, making it more expensive because of the conversion rate.

Re:Another troll summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29840039)

The pound has gone to shit too.

Re:Another troll summary? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838705)

OK what costs? Scanning/turning into an e-book?

Dude! Have you ever tried turning an English book into Engrish?

Oh, they already speak English? Hrm, well, I guess then they'd have to create a "Ministry of Funny Spellings and Pronunciations" for words like 'color' and 'schedule.'

No? Ok, I'll leave.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839275)

It's the cost of the cell phone network. Obviously they couldn't get a cheap data plan in Europe so they have to disable things that use bandwidth and charge more for the necessary parts. There's no mystery here, there's no book tax, it's not the cost of converting from anything. It's just European cell phone companies rip off Amazon just because they can.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839643)

They use AT&T in the device though.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29840021)

really? kindle one used the sprint network for books.

Now if only they used wifi data could be cheap across regions.

Re:Another troll summary? (3, Insightful)

chadenright (1344231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838125)

Logically speaking, why would their operating costs be any higher? They aren't actually shipping books around--they're shipping data. And that data is probably hosted on the same servers, maybe even the same bits as their US products.

A more reasonable explanation, in my opinion, is that pictures are being stripped and the internet locked down so they aren't liable under chinese law for anyone who evades the eWall of China. And they're charging more because they think they can get away with charging more, leading to higher profits.

That would be like me putting a download on my site and saying "If you live in the US, click HERE so I can charge you $10 usd. If you do not live in the US, click HERE so I can charge you $14 usd."

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Insightful)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838271)

Its particularly odd that they would strip the browser citing costs when mobile internet access outside of the US is so much cheaper!

Re:Another troll summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838825)

Ah, but they have an agreement with a US carrier that was negotiated at [flat] lower rates in exchange for exclusivity. Unless/until they have such a deal overseas, the market rates may still be higher.

Re:Another troll summary? (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838415)

Logically speaking, why would their operating costs be any higher? They aren't actually shipping books around--they're shipping data. And that data is probably hosted on the same servers, maybe even the same bits as their US products

The data is essentially delivered by cell phone. They are using AT&T's international roaming service for the international Kindle, and that costs a lot.

Re:Another troll summary? (3, Interesting)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838543)

You would think that in certain territories they would come to an arrangement with a native provider.

Going with AT&T is strange. T-Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica, Three all have large international networks and one of these would be a far more logical provider for Europe than AT&T.

Instead they're going to make the product worthless and expensive.

Re:Another troll summary? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838801)

They are using the wrong carrier. For my GPS trackers I'm using Jasper wireless services and the cost is less than AT&T in the US and the cards work globally.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

discogravy (455376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838997)

So they can't pony up for some servers in europe and an agreement w/ a euro cell carrier? sounds like bad planning or a bullshit song-and-dance to rake in the $.

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839077)

What on earth makes you think they can make an agreement w/ a euro cell carrier that is cheaper? Why on earth do you think they didn't try? I'll bet you don't even have a Kindle, don't want one, and just like to complain about evil corporations.

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838137)

Regarding 1), free wiki acess anywhere seems really nice. I guess that falls under "disabling web browser" also?

Oh well; no Kindle for me then.

Re:Another troll summary? (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838999)

I'm just wondering how long it will be before somebody writes up a little program that automates the process of using wikipedia to "launder" material from the broader internet through wikipedia for free Kindle access.

Since anybody can edit wikipedia, you could easily stash a URL on some obscure page. This program, running on a computer with a real ISP, would be watching for edits made by you, and would respond to them by retrieving the requested URL, reformatting it, and posting that as a subsequent edit. The wikipedia guys would presumably crack down if it occurred on a wide scale; but a few geek enthusiasts, particularly if they cleaned up the edits used after they were finished, could probably fly under the radar for a good while.

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Interesting)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838205)

Not to mention exchange rates and associated taxes in foreign countries, which vary from country to country.

Slow news day, I guess.

Re:Another troll summary? (0)

grimJester (890090) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838287)

Not to mention exchange rates and associated taxes in foreign countries, which vary from country to country.

Yes, since the average non-US currency is valued 40% lower than the USD it makes sense to price your product 40% higher abroad and charge the same number regardless of currency. This is why everything in Kuwait is so expensive and Italy had really low prices before they joined the euro.

Re:Another troll summary? (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838785)

What?

The Euro is valued over 40% higher than the dollar. The reason you keep the number price the same (unit-less) is because then you make more money on the sales in countries with more valuable currency, because (and this is the key aspect) people are willing to pay that price. That is it.

This is why everything in Kuwait is so expensive and Italy had really low prices before they joined the euro.

Currency exchange rates are only one small factor in the price differences, in USD, between Italy (pre EU), Kuwait, and anywhere else. It's a complex valuation between currencies which includes factors like money supply in each of the countries, GDP, local wage rates, and a host of other factors.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839103)

It's a common misconception, but if that were true, then Japan would have super-cheap prices, because the Yen is super cheap. But they don't: things in Japan tend to be expensive.

Re:Another troll summary? (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838227)

2) Calling the Amazon explanation a "confession" seems a little biased...sounds quite reasonable to me to charge more if their costs are higher.

No offense, but if you accept that explanation, you're one of the suckers their PR people spew that line for. That's not why they are charging more. Prices are set based upon maximizing profitability, not based on "cost + some acceptable profit margin".

They've made the determination that they'll make more money selling overseas at a higher price (even if they sell fewer units). Their "higher costs" explanation is just a standard explanation for "we're going to charge more in a certain market because we've determined that's how we'll make the most money".

Re:Another troll summary? (2, Insightful)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838807)

No offense, but if you accept that explanation, you're one of the suckers their PR people spew that line for. That's not why they are charging more. Prices are set based upon maximizing profitability, not based on "cost + some acceptable profit margin".

I agree with your post in entirety, but I'll take it a step farther and say "Who cares?" Different markets are different. Amazon doesn't owe you an explanation as to why it's "fair". You either take them up on their offer or not.

Non-story.

Re:Another troll summary? (1)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839959)

Also, this wasn't a "discovery." This was all announced and well known to anyone who bothered to read the information Amazon provided on launch day.

Partially hobbled... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838015)

... is still better than unavailable, which is the current state of the Kindle here in Canada (we don't even get the "International" version)

Re:Partially hobbled... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838117)

... is still better than unavailable, which is the current state of the Kindle here in Canada (we don't even get the "International" version)

What part of "Third World Nation Axis of Evil" do you Nucks not understand?

Re:Partially hobbled... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838135)

Shut up you texan redneck, Bush isn't in power anymore. Go read a book and learn shit for a change.

Re:Partially hobbled... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838509)

I wouldn't throw those stones in your glass house. You still have Harper running the show up in the "Great White North", eh?

Re:Partially hobbled... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838663)

... is still better than unavailable, which is the current state of the Kindle here in Canada (we don't even get the "International" version)

What part of "Third World Nation Axis of Evil" do you Nucks not understand?

A perfect example of why inbreeding is horrible. I dont care if your wife/sister is out of town, stop screwing your mom (she is a bad lay anyways)* and read a book for once.

*honestly stolen from Bo

That's alright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838041)

I'll just point the Kindle at the American servers and get the same low price, right? It's a fantastic thing this Internet, you can put your service where it's the cheapest, and the WHOOOLLE wide world can reach you there, incurring no operational costs anywhere else.

Now, some smartass is going to mention taxes. Okay, I'm in europe and our tax on books is 6% .. explain how we go from 6% to 40% higher prices?

Re:That's alright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838129)

The wireless service contract is through a US carrier.... the roaming connection charges are insane.

I've seen my bill after traveling in europe... the euro carriers really enjoy putting 2-3 euro per text message fees for foreign phones. Had outlook exchange sync on my phone and got a $500 bill for 5 days of roaming. (less than 3 mb of data transfer)

Re:That's alright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838353)

Of course, it wouldn't be a "foreign phone" if it was used by a native here, and it doesn't even involve Amazon in any way. I have free and unlimted data on my iphone, yes, even though it's an american product. Imagine that! What do you think happens if I go to the US and try the same thing? I'd rack up $500 in five seconds. That has nothing to do with ebook-readers, that's about corrupt telecom.

If for some reason I'd want to connect my ebook-reader to the cellphone-net (WHY?!) I would of course use my existing SIM-card or if I was really keen, get another one with good rates. Again, this doesn't even involve Amazon in any way. Their servers are still on the fucking INTERNET not some cellnet

Re:That's alright. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838547)

The whole point of the kindle is that it has wireless GSM access built in.... and sadly you can't change it to a local Euro carrier. There is no SIM card to swap. Nice try, though.

Re:That's alright. (1)

jgardia (985157) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838403)

Sorry, but the one charging you that is your provider in the US. Within Europe, the roaming charges have a lega limit (per mb, minute or sms). Even when I was using my chilean phone in Germany I ended up paying a reasonable amount (~US$200 for 3 weeks). I think you are pointing your darts at the wrong place...

Fun Fact (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838059)

Most Europeans can't read. In fact, the only Europeans who can read are the members of the royal families of each country. That is why they're able to charge extra.

Higher Costs outside the USA? (3, Interesting)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838065)

That is Marketing Droid speak for

Lets screw everyone else.

I fail to understand the reasoning for this in places where Amazon already has a huge operation (eg UK)

Ah well, If they screw us up so much then people will find a way to get, sorry pirate or hack the US Editions and then watch Amazon cry fould as the whole thing is a mega flop just like the Zune is outside the US.(just an example)

When will the so called international companies really view the world as one big market and 'do the right thing'.

I certainly won't be buying one of these. I urge others to boycott them until the functionality is restored.

 

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838099)

The Zune is a huge flop inside the U.S. as well.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838319)

The Zune is a huge flop inside the U.S. as well.

Informative? This seems more like a candidate for an 'Obvious' mod.

Legitmate conversion costs (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838209)

The books need to be converted from the NTSC format that America uses to the inferior PAL system that European books use.

Re:Legitmate conversion costs (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838423)

The books need to be converted from the NTSC format that America uses to the inferior PAL system that European books use.

So the Europeans will get one-sixth more words and deeper blacks in their books?

Re:Legitmate conversion costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838445)

and dirty 50hz strobe

Re:Legitmate conversion costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29839375)

No, Europaean flavours of the raeder just have moure colourful language.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838255)

That is Marketing Droid speak for

Lets screw everyone else.

No .. this is fundamental capitalism for lets see how much the market can bear

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838465)

> When will the so called international companies really view the world as one
> big market and 'do the right thing'.

Perhaps when governments do likewise?

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (0, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838489)

Repeat these two sentences until you can draw a conclusion from them:

'International customers do pay a higher price for their books than US customers due to higher operating costs outside of the US'
I fail to understand the reasoning for this in places where Amazon already has a huge operation (eg UK)

Hint: huge operation = higher operating costs. There's a FAIL here all right...oh wait, I see you even say "I fail" too! Well OK then.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (1, Funny)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838497)

I fail to understand the reasoning for this in places where Amazon already has a huge operation (eg UK)

That's because you fail to understand how the device operates. It uses a connection to the cell phone network to receive data. In the US, Amazon has a deal with Sprint to use the Sprint wireless data network. For the international Kindle, they have a deal to use AT&T's wireless data network. When used outside the US, this incurs roaming charges.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838603)

"international Kindle" ...

"used outside the US, this incurs roaming charges"

-->

FAIL.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838745)

And the iPhone bought in the UK uses the AT&T data network in the US to receive data then?

Rubbish.

Amason could easily sign up with a LOCAL (remember Vodafone is a UK based company) mobile phone network to use their data network.

I remain convinced that this will fail in the UK.

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838873)

And the iPhone bought in the UK uses the AT&T data network in the US to receive data then?

What does that have to do with Amazon's choice of wireless carrier?

Re:Higher Costs outside the USA? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29839139)

When will they view the world as "one big market"?

Probably around the time it actually is...

A market for middle men? (4, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838141)

What is to stop someone from buying "American" book and reselling them to European customers for, say, only a 10% markup?

Oh, let me guess - no interoperability / not an open format.

Re:A market for middle men? (2, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838437)

Nothing, as long as you use a web proxy in the US for downloading and don't expect the wireless to work on a different cell network.

Re:A market for middle men? (2, Interesting)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838749)

Put that way, nothing except the fact that it's likely to not be profitable. Given a US price P (always excluding sales tax) and a VAT of 15-25% depending on the EU country (applies to e-books in most of them; must typically be included in the price by law) you have to charge somewhere between 1.15*P and 1.25*P just to break even.

So 10% markup in the list price would be a loss. 20% would be about break-even, if we assume a 20% VAT. A 10% increase in what the seller gets would mean a 32% markup in the list price given that same 20% VAT.

Re:A market for middle men? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839157)

What has the US price got to do with it ? The US price is the US price including their profit. It's not like they have to buy any more copies to sell in the EU. So you're suggesting they are making profit on their US profit ? Sales tax in the US is VAT in the EU. Wouldn't surprise me if they just added more on for the hell of it. Shame it'll sink without trace.

Plus you don't pay vat on second hand goods so if you're reselling you shouldn't be charging it.

Re:A market for middle men? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839273)

There is no sales tax unless you are in the same state as Amazon, unlike VAT.

Done singly you could get away without charging VAT, but I imagine customs would notice after awhile.

Re:A market for middle men? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839795)

> There is no sales tax unless you are in the same state as Amazon, unlike VAT.

True, but doesn't matter much for the point of the argument, since the US list price doesn't include the sales tax no matter what, and the article is comparing list prices.

> Done singly you could get away without charging VAT, but I imagine customs would notice
> after awhile.

I'd think so. ;)

Re:A market for middle men? (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839407)

> What has the US price got to do with it ?

The whole point of the article is that the UK list price is 40% more than the US list price.

> The US price is the US price including their profit.

Right.

> It's not like they have to buy any more copies to sell in the EU.

That depends on the licensing terms.

Also, the operating expenses (e.g. the data connection for the kindle) remain and might not be priced the same in the EU.

> Sales tax in the US is VAT in the EU.

Sort of, except that the list price (which is what the article is about) includes the VAT and doesn't include sales tax. And there are more differences in the details (see below).

> Wouldn't surprise me if they just added more on for the hell of it.

Sure could be! It's just hard to say without going through their costs in detail, and the _definitely_ didn't add on 40%.

> Plus you don't pay vat on second hand goods

This is true if the original good had the VAT paid on it. However, if the good was bought outside the country (or the EU, in the EU case) and then imported, VAT is owed at the moment of import (unlike sales tax, which is owed at the moment of purchase only). The whole point of a VAT is that it only gets charged once (unlike sales tax, which is why VAT rates are higher), but it DOES get charged. Note that it also typically gets refunded if you export the good after purchasing (again, unlike a sales tax).

Amazon Offers Refund! (5, Informative)

starrsoft (745524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838161)

Amazon sent out an email [hansmast.com] this morning to people who bought an International Kindle (mine arrived yesterday) informing them that they had dropped the price by $20 and would be applying a $20 refund to my credit card. With this kind of customer service, I buy even my groceries from Amazon these days; no need to venture outside. I suspect that this is also fighting back against the Nook [barnesandnoble.com] .

Re:Amazon Offers Refund! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838669)

So fighting back against a newer more feature full product is to cut features from your own product and charge more for it. Okay. I guess the Amazon shills have mod points today too.

Re:Amazon Offers Refund! (1)

starrsoft (745524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839873)

The Kindle International edition was announced far before the Nook was announced. In fact, the release of the GSM Kindle was only a few days after the announcement of the Nook. So the features of the GSM Kindle were determined far before the Nook was announced. The price drop was done after the Nook was announced.

Furthermore, the article linked is only talking about the GSM Kindle in the UK. The GSM Kindle I have lets me use web surfing in the US without a problem.

Fundamentally, the issue here is not feature hobbling, it's airtime charges. At this point, Amazon seems to only be using a contract with AT&T for international roaming, which is absurdly expensive. Hopefully, Amazon will forge contracts directly with GSM providers across the globe and be able to afford to enable web surfing and book downloads without a surcharge. Right now a US-based customer can download books overseas, over-the-air for US prices, but has a $2.99 delivery surcharge because of the extra roaming charges Amazon has to pay. (Books can be downloaded to PC and loaded via USB at normal US Kindle prices.)

As it is, lifetime unlimited web surfing over US GSM & CDMA networks for the price of a device purchase is an unheard of bargain and a big profitability risk/experiment for Amazon. To do that worldwide with exorbitant roaming rates is unthinkable.

(Yes, I dislike Amazon's walled garden. Yes, I wish it was more open. Yes, I'm delighted that the Nook came out and is providing competition. But the Kindle was/is still an excellent, ground-breaking device that is setting all kinds of precedents.)

Re:Amazon Offers Refund! (0)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839219)

corporate cocksucker.

Re:Amazon Offers Refund! (1)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839585)

The nook does look pretty snazzy if you ask me. Amazon really needs to step up there game or the good ol' invisible hand will smack amazon in the face :P

Re:Amazon Offers Refund! (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839811)

The Nook still seems like a better deal to me, even without the web browser.

Do not buy Kindle (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838251)

Why figth against a stupid corp like Amazon, if you can simply use real books (no DRM here, you can give then to your friends, sell, etc) or use a better - and open - option like one netbook with PDF reader? For me, Kindle is a expensive and useless toy.

Re:Do not buy Kindle (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838589)

For me, Kindle is an expensive and useless toy.

Oh, then it must be true for everyone. That's probably exactly why the original Kindle sold out in five and a half hours and was out of stock for the next five months, because it's expensive and useless.

Also, if you think that a small laptop with a PDF reader is a replacement for Kindle (let alone "better"), you're out of touch. Do some research into how Kindle accesses content online (hint: there's no wifi, and there's no ethernet). Also, I'd like to see your netbook spend four days between battery charges while online, or two weeks while offline.

Re:Do not buy Kindle (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838635)

Why figth against a stupid corp like Amazon, if you can simply use real books (no DRM here, you can give then to your friends, sell, etc) or use a better - and open - option like one netbook with PDF reader? For me, Kindle is a expensive and useless toy.

This comes up with every Kindle article, and I tend to respond. A netbook, or anything else with a backlight, can't compete with a Kindle's readability. Of course there are other ebook readers, and there are also paper books, but the Kindle really is quite useful if you travel and want to bring a lot to read. Also, if you want to only read free (as in beer or speech, your choice) material you can do so on the Kindle. The DX, at least, reads pdfs without any conversion, and both versions read txt and several non-Amazon ebook formats.

Foreigners pay more for ebooks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838253)

That's backwards. Many of my students buy the international version of the textbook because it is less than half price.

No pictures! Imagine a circuits text with no pictures.

It's all just wrong. Fear not, other ebook readers will come along.

Circuits without text (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838651)

Something like this, I imagine:


V0 1 0 AC 1 SIN(0V 1V 60HZ)
R1 1 2 470
C1 2 0 220 U

After all... (5, Funny)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#29838327)

Amazon did have to lay the cable across the oceans to deliver said books. You gotta pony up!

Well thanks Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838455)

As an European, I was somewhat excited about an established eBook Readers finally coming to the rest of the world. I was on the brink of ordering a Kindle too. The fact that there are basically no non-english books in your store threw me off. Oh, and you didn't even bother to translate the menu.

This is the nail in the coffin. You obviously hope to sell some of your hardware to us for a lot of cash, without even trying. With slim to none effort, you hope to make a few bucks. Well, fuck you. We're not stupid, keep your overpriced bullshit, I'll wait until some vendor actually gives a shit about his customers.

Again, fuck you.

Probably the same thing that's stopping Pandora. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838625)

Copyright issues.

Someone is lying here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29838627)

So they disabled web browsing as well as images in newspaper/magazine because of higher infrastructure costs? If that's the case, then shouldn't Americans on average pay lower cell phone bills compared to Europeans (which is not the case).

This doesn't add up.

yet their PAPER books are the same price (3, Informative)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839083)

On Amazon's websites: War and Peace, same edition, UK and US prices. Penguin Classics (paperback) in the US this is sold for $10.88 with free delivery. In the UK the price is £7.12 with free delivery. Using an exchange rate of $1.60 to the £, the prices are certainly not 40% different.

So why do I get the feeling I am being lied to?

Re:yet their PAPER books are the same price (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839751)

You feel like you are being lied to for 2 reasons:
1) You went into the conversation looking to be lied to, so you found a reason to believe it.
2) You don't understand the difference between paperback and electronic books.

While I am going to go ahead and ignore the fact that you chose one price point from one website for one book for one currency exchange rate at one point in time and then tried to claim that prices in a different medium for all products at all times in all currencies must also be the similiar (Ok, I didn't ignore it, but what are you being lied to about if I'm not spot on, what are you being lied to about?), I will briefly explain why this is irrelevant (without approaching those issues).

While I am simplifying here,

The costs for a paperback book include obtaining the copyight, printing the books, point of sale costs (either website or cashier in a physical store), and royalties on sales. If the book doesn't sell well, you may have warehousing costs, but these are sold through websites or to bookstores that do sell a lot and need JIT inventory, which actually lowers your cost of goods sold.

The copyright, royalties, and POS costs (if website) are relatively fixed. The POS costs and printing costs are negligible due to volume. Therefore, a book that costs $4 to sell, even if stored for 50 years, is not going to go up in cost. Of course, after a long period of time, you just make a new edition, and people buy an old book again.

Electronic books, on the other hand, have additional costs. Since you arent printing a specific number of books, but rather you are keeping a master copy on a server that needs encryption and protection against non-sales, the cost of having one book for sale could be higher. You still have to obtain the copyright, pay royalties on sales, etc. Now you also have the cost of setting up user accounts so that when John Smith buys a book, he doesn't have to keep his downloaded book on his proprietary reader. He can keep it on his user account and redownload whenever he wants to read it. This would be negligible except that you are paying a per sold reading device, along with a per book sold fee for the network bandwidth. This is cheaper in the long run because some users buy the reader, then don't buy a lot of books.

Users, on the hand, find the value of an ebook reader beyond that of a paperback. If I buy 10000 books (not all at once, that would be silly) for my ebook reader, and it dies, I can get a new ebook reader and read all of my books within an hour (depending on traffic). If my house burns down, I cannot replace my books. The same editions are not necessarily available, I probably don't remember all of them, and I gurantee you I don't have $100000 lying around just to repurchase books. Then again, maybe I'm on the subway or at the airport or in the car on a roadtrip or at the hotel on a business trip or on vacation or standing in line at the post office or waiting in the parking lot to pick up my kids from school or just woke up the morning after and its awkward and I need a distraction or its cheaper because the book is brand new or my car is low on gas and I don't want to leave the house cause its raining and theres nothing on tv or [you really read all these examples, didn't you] and thus a bookstore is out of question because I want to read a new book immediately. Believe it or not, I'm willing to pay a premium for that and so are most people. In addition to immediate access to a book, you get access to far, far more titles than all of the bookstores in your city might carry. With the kindle,you get magazines and newspapers too.

Of course, to give users this useability, there are higher costs. Since the Kindle is based on a US service provider, international costs are quite reasonably higher. Since this is a servcie, and not just a book, it is possible that VAT bumps the higher cost even higher. I'm not going to bother to try to explain currency exchange to you, but suffice it say that people like books to cost them the same regardless of when they buy it, since age isnt a factor for ebooks, but exchange rates do change and the possibility of the dollar weakening is factored into the price.

Re:yet their PAPER books are the same price (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839857)

All that argument aside, you still admit that an electronic, digital restrictions encumbered copy of a book with no effective way to exercise the right of first sale and tethered to what is effectively a fancy dongle costs just as much or more than the same book in good old-fashioned dead tree format. Where's my incentive to buy this again?

Re:yet their PAPER books are the same price (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839867)

I'm betting that they're trying to cover for the wireless fees, rather than the licensing stuff.

Thats Ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29839341)

I'm not buying one anyhow.

Wow really? (2, Informative)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839547)

Was amazon really too stupid to contact vodafone or orange and get a plan from them. I mean really why would they actually pay roaming charges with AT&T. Its not like they bought the kindles from AT&T and AT&T locked them :D

Who cares about browsers in these things? (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839701)

Really - I remember everyone having orgasms about the fact that the PlayStation II was going to have a browser and that was going to take over the world. If you are going to buy a Kindle you are not thinking about surfing the Internets, you're thinking about reading books in the same way as you're thinking about playing games on the PSII.

No photos is a bit sucky though.

And the high price thing - meh. Ve Europeans vill nevargh geev oop our reediculous high prices! It is ze mark of civilization!

Too Confused To Make Heads Or Tails? (3, Insightful)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29839855)

Here's a brilliant idea, DON'T BUY IT! Here is a WANT(read: not NEED) that costs way too much for it's purpose and is hobbled every time the lawyers gets a scent of blood or a penny. Vote with the only thing these corp's care about, your money! Stop being the consumption drone the media tells you to be!!!!

Too much to ask, I guess. Gotta get the new Droid...oh my, it's a phone, too? And the new Lana Johannah album, she's hawt! And of course, them 20" rims for the Prius, they save batteries cuz they are cooler!

/common sense

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