In its infinite wisdom, Amazon has decided that its Australian customers will no longer be allowed to shop from its main site, and have their orders shipped from overseas. Instead, these unwanted customers will have to buy from Amazon’s Australian site.
And that could be a huge issue for Australian Kindle users.
From Sydney Morning Herald:
Australians will be blocked from shopping on Amazon’s international websites and restricted to using its smaller local platform as the e-commerce giant responds to the government’s new GST rules on online purchases.
The move is seen as a win for local retailers which had lobbied for the 10 per cent tax to apply to all goods purchased from offshore retailers – not just on those greater than $1000.
Amazon said that Amazon.com, its American website, and other overseas sites would no longer ship to Australian addresses from July 1.
Shoppers visiting those sites will be redirected to Amazon.com.au, which launched late last year and stocks about 60 million products, compared to almost half a billion on its US site.
July 1 is the date new rules come into effect forcing online retailers to apply the 10 per cent GST to all online purchases being shipped to Australia from overseas.
This is going to be a minor annoyance for most of Amazon customers but possibly a huge problem for Kindle users.
You see, Amazon has set up its Kindle platform in such a way that you can only have a Kindle app or ereader attached to a specific account with one of its websites. If you have accounts through both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.fr, you can only register an app or a Kindle through one account.
Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but with customers being forced to switch to Amazon’s Australian site it means that they could lose access to their ebooks:
So, according to @Amazon, if I want access to the FIVE THOUSAND ebooks on my account after July 1st, I can never buy another book again. Literally the options they are giving me right now because they can't port the books over. What. The. Fuck.
— Aislinn Kearns (@ardentaislinn) May 31, 2018
Note: I am using the indefinite phrasing in this post because I have not confirmed the accuracy of this initial report. Amazon was queried before this post was published, but has not responded.
Amazon has forced customers to switch Kindle Stores in the past, with different results.
Back in 2013, customers in Canada, Japan, and Brazil were all blocked from buying from Amazon.com. In at least some of the cases I found back then, users were able to transfer their accounts, but only at the cost of their purchase history, gift card credits, and wishlists. Users also lost books that were not available from Amazon in their respective national markets, as well as other content.
At the very least, Amazon’s customers are facing a painful disruption, and for no good reason.