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Saturday
Jul072012

How Not to Buy a Kindle

The first step is easy: Do not buy your Kindle from amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca, amazon.cn, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it, amazon.es, or amazon.co.jp. You really don’t want to make the purchase in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, or Japan. The reason for this is simply. When you buy your Kindle in one of these countries, Amazon rips you off big time (I really want to say Amazon bends you over and has Its way with you, but that would be indelicate). Let me use the UK, where I live, to explain what I mean.

If you live in the US and order, for example, a Kindle Touch Wi Fi on amazon.com it will cost you US$99.00. The exact same Kindle Touch produced in the US and then shipped to the UK when you order it on amazon.co.uk will costs you £109.00. I realise that does not seem overly impressive, but it does becomes so when you do the currency conversion. Depending on the exchange rate on the day of the purchase, the person who ordered his Kindle Touch on co.uk will pay between 60% to 70% more than the person who ordered hers on .com. That’s 60% to 70%!

HA! What does Amazon take us for? Idiots? That’s not a slight increase in costs. That’s immoral and unethical. That’s cynical. That’s unjust. That’s outrageous. That’s maddening. It leaves you sitting in a dark room weeping. It’s just bloody wrong!

However, not being born yesterday I pulled myself together and decided to do the obvious and order my Kindle Touch from amazon.com. But amazingly Amazon wouldn’t let me do that. When I went to .com, Amazon refused my purchase with a friendly message instructing me to buy my Kindle Touch from amazon.co.uk where I could spend up to 70% more. Now if I visit .com and click on the Kindle page, it transfers me automatically to .co.uk. The bastards! How do they sleep at night? And I’m sure the same thing will happen to all you good folks in Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, China and Japan. Obviously our Amazon accounts and credit cards are grounded firmly in our home countries and Amazon knows everything. Amazon wants us to go home and stay there. There is no escape.

Infuriated beyond belief by this not insignificant injustice, I decided to make a principled stance. I announced to my wife that I was not going to buy a Kindle Touch through amazon.co.uk, and that I might at some undesignated time in the future think about boycotting Amazon all together. Maybe. But anyway, my bold and noble decision to refuse amazon.co.uk’s conditions leads me to the slightly more difficult second step in how not to buy a Kindle: You must purchase your Kindle in the United States of America!  Here are few ideas on how you can do this:

  • Move to the US; or
  • Take your holiday in the US; or
  • Ask a family member in the US to buy one for you and stick it in the mail; or
  • As a friend; or
  • Ask an acquaintance; or
  • Ask a family member or friend in your home country to ask a friend or family member in the US; or
  • If you are member of the 1% fly to New York for the weekend (though I guess if you are a member of the 1% you won’t mind paying 70% over the US price).

Well, there you have it. Last week my wife came back from a business trip to the US with my Kindle Touch in hand. It’s great. Books really do download in 60 seconds or less. Amazing. I tried to register my Kindle with amazon.com because books are cheaper in the US, but Amazon wouldn’t let me do that. It sent me home. Of course It did.

A word of advice, however. Buy yourself a cover of some kind so you can hide the advertising that helpfully comes along with your new Kindle when you send it to sleep. When my wife’s old Kindle goes to sleep you get great pictures of famous authors. When my new Kindle is sleeping you get adverts for AT&T, Bose and numerous Kindle books. In the on-board manual Amazon tells me what a great advantage this is and emphasizes, as if it is a generous gift on Its part, that the advertising doesn’t appear in the book I’m reading. Thanks Amazon. You really do have my best interests at heart. And if ever I were to doubt that, I simply need to remember the question is not what is ethical, but what is profitable.

By the way. While Amazon UK made £3.3billion last year in the UK selling books and all sorts of things, and using our resources and services to do so, It paid no corporate tax in the UK. All perfectly legal, of course. The thing is, while Amazon UK operations are in the UK, Its headquarters are in Luxemburg. Amazon UK lives is the UK, but pays taxes in Luxemburg. Imagine that. Kind of like living in the UK and buying your Kindle in America. And it looks like Amazon is being investigated for its tax avoidance schemes in all your countries too, in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, China, or Japan. Still, my Kindle Touch is great. It has five dictionaries which means I can look up the words “integrity” and “personal.”

Now, let’s see. What is on my to do list for today? Oh yea. Remove my money from that greedy, lying, criminal bank. Right. Need to get on that as soon as I finish that eBook about the nature of consumer dreams and power in a corporate kind of a world.

Copyright © 2012 Dale Rominger

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