Navigating the Amazon

No, not the river, the online bookstore.

A few people have commented that they have various challenges with buying my books (and presumably therefore other books) on Amazon. I’m not entirely surprised, since the online behemoth seems to have been going out of its way lately to complexify its bookselling platform. So here are a few pointers:

  • By far the easiest place to start is to go to the US site (, which seems to be the only site that has all of the relevant information about my books. Editorial reviews that I have uploaded, for example, only appear on the US site. And if you want to buy a paperback copy of either novel, you can easily do so from here.
  • But for reasons known only to Amazon, if you want to buy the Kindle version, Amazon will redirect you to the Australian site (and presumably if you are in other countries than the US, your relevant local site), where you can complete the transaction. What may trip some people up is that this is not immediately obvious – the notification appears on the right hand side of the screen, along with a clickable link.
  • And here’s another thing: pricing.
    • The prices shown on the US site are those that I have set, and in theory they are transmitted to all the other sites based on the current exchange rate, plus some undefined ‘fees’ that Amazon charge. And then there’s postage, which should be about $5.50 US per book. So all up, the delivered cost to Australia should be roughly $27.00 AU.
    • But if you go directly to the Australian site, you’ll see that the headline price for a paperback copy is much higher than the US price, at around $40.00 AU. That’s because Amazon headlines the highest price among all the different subsidiaries and contractors they use to deliver books in Australia. However, if you look carefully you can call up a complete list of every option, including delivery direct from Amazon itself, for which the prices are about the same as delivery from the US site.

If this all seems too confusing for words, I don’t blame you. Amazon does seem to be going out of its way to be confusing to Australian users at least.

Fortunately there are other options if you want to buy a paperback copy of my books in Australia, in the form of Booktopia and Dymocks Online, both of whom offer a straightforward delivery service at about the right price with none of the Amazon complications.

I hope that clears up the questions I have been asked so far, but if there are others please don’t hesitate to post a question on my website or email me directly.

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