medrin: matlab code with everything but 'hold on' blurred (Default)
medrin ([personal profile] medrin) wrote in [community profile] ebooks2016-03-01 12:01 pm

Amazon pricing weirdness

I've noticed that odd things are happening with the prices on Amazon with regards to ebooks.

I thought hey! I should finally read the Vorkosigan Saga! So I went on Amazon, searched for Bujold and scrolled down the list of books.
Shards of Honor $6.99
6.99! not bad! I should buy that! I click the link and
Shards of Honor $8.74
8.74. That's more. Actually that's quite a lot more. :(

I do some more poking around. And it's everywhere. All english language ebooks for all authors. 25% price increase between initially listed price and what it actually costs.

Worth noting at this point is that I'm in Sweden. And since there is no such thing as amazon.se I'm buying from amazon.com and see all the prices in USD. Which I've been doing for years without issues (except for the occasional 'this title is not available in your country' which makes me sad).

I've been trying to google about this issue and all I could find was that, yes, ebooks costs different in different countries. Which I knew. But I did not find anything about Amazon being this blatant about showing me a cheaper price which I am not actually allowed to buy books for!

Also, I've been trying to remember earlier books I've bought and I think I've mostly been paying the same amount for ebooks as everyone else just going on internet comments and so on. Not this 25% more for every book all the time. I'm pretty sure I would have noticed that earlier considering I usually look around before I buy a book.

Anyone have any idea what's going on?
lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl, blushing and laughing. (!Me blushing)

[personal profile] lynnoconnacht 2016-03-01 01:23 pm (UTC)(link)
Also, I've been trying to remember earlier books I've bought and I think I've mostly been paying the same amount for ebooks as everyone else just going on internet comments and so on

I suspect you bought them before VATMOSS came into effect? Before VATMOSS, Amazon charged every EU buyer the VAT costs of the country its main office is located in (Luxembourgh). If I recall, it also classed ebooks as books rather than digital products, meaning that all EU members paid 3% more than the list price for an ebook to cover the VAT costs.

After VATMOSS, however, Amazon is no longer allowed to do this. It has to charge EU customers VAT based on where they live. It also has to charge EU customers the VAT for digital goods. For Sweden, that comes to 25% VAT.

I'm not sure why Amazon is showing you a cheaper price in search results, but it's been doing that for as long as I've shopped there as well, I'm afraid. It's possible that the search result prices don't take IP addresses/geolocation into account. I could see that taking up quite a bit of resources when rendering a whole page full of prices, but it's incredibly annoying for consumers to be lied to like that.

Anyway! I'm not entirely sure why Amazon won't show people VAT-inclusive prices in the search results, but VATMOSS is why you're seeing the 25% increase in ebook costs.

I hope that helps clarify things a little!
lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl, looking sad. (!Me sad)

[personal profile] lynnoconnacht 2016-03-01 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad it was helpful! ^_^

One of the biggest issues with VATMOSS legislation as it stands is that it was thought up something like 8+ years ago and wasn't revised in any way to account for the way the digital market changed in that time. (Also if the EU reclassified ebooks to digital goods, it did not do so for any other digital entertainment.) I'm normally pro-EU as well, but they really messed up with this one.

I too really wish Amazon would fix its pricing, but considering they haven't touched it in at least four years, I'm not hopeful. :( Non-American customers on the dotcom domain are just an after-thought.
fred_mouse: Wooden mouse shape with leather ears and dots for eyes, wrapped in a piece of green blanket (Default)

[personal profile] fred_mouse 2016-03-01 02:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Amazon has been doing two-tier pricing in Australia for quite some time. At least a year ago I was trying to get a Connie Willis book, and the prices I could get it in Australia (even allowing for currency conversion) were 4-5 times higher (and more expensive than I could have got a mass-market paperback for) than the initial advertised price.
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)

[personal profile] runpunkrun 2016-03-01 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
If you're still interested in buying the Vorkosigan saga, you might be able to buy them direct from Baen, which has omnibus volumes for about the same as the single books, in lots of formats, all DRM-free: http://www.baen.com/categories/books-by-series-list/the-vorkosigan-saga-by-lois-mcmaster-bujold.html
runpunkrun: combat boot, pizza, camo pants = punk  (Default)

[personal profile] runpunkrun 2016-03-01 06:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, that's a bummer. I saw them on the main listing but didn't click through since I assumed that meant you could buy them.
undomielregina: Rusyuna from the anime Grenadier text: "Grenadier" (Default)

[personal profile] undomielregina 2016-03-01 11:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Baen released legally redistributable free e-copies of the Vorkosigan books (other than Memory) on a CD with the hardcover release of Cryoburn. I have copies I could upload, and here's a website with the contents: http://hell.pl/szymon/Baen/Cryoburn/ As it says on that page, the cds specifically authorize sharing the files as long as you don't try to sell any copies, so it's a guilt-free way to get the books without paying.
undomielregina: Rusyuna from the anime Grenadier text: "Grenadier" (Default)

[personal profile] undomielregina 2016-03-02 08:22 am (UTC)(link)
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BySIbTU0nKlnem5CcWdLTDVrM2s has the books, in epub and mobi formats. I'd have to dig up the CD to pull the others if you'd prefer html or anything else more unusual. Enjoy! And remember that you'll still need to buy Memory and the most recent novel, since those aren't included on the disc.

[personal profile] delibby 2016-03-03 06:04 am (UTC)(link)
http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/

Here's the link to ALL the CDs