Amazon announced today that they will no longer allow Australians to buy digital content through their US portal and are forcing everyone to use the dedicated Australian page. Hundreds of thousands of customers will lose access to their ebooks on July 1st because Amazon does not allow customers to transfer Kindle purchases from one country to another.
In a statement issued to the Good e-Reader, Amazon said it regretted the move and the inconvenience to customers accustomed to visiting Amazon’s global online stores. Amazon has made this move primarily due to new GST rules that will force them to apply a 10% GST to goods purchased on international sites and shipped to Australia.
In an email to customers on Thursday, the company said from July 1 it would redirect Australian shoppers from its international sites to amazon.com.au where products sold by Amazon US will be available on the new global store. “We have taken this step to provide our customers with continued access to international selection and allow us to remain compliant with the law, which requires us to collect and remit GST on products sold on Amazon sites that are shipped from overseas,” the company said.
Amazon no longer allowing Australian shoppers to buy digital content through its main Amazon.com website will be a serious blow to people who purchased ebooks legitimately. The Kindle platform is only attached to a specific account with one of its websites. If you have accounts through both Amazon.com and Amazon.au, you can only register an app or a Kindle through one account. This means you have to choose one store or another. If you purchase 100 books from the Amazon.com website, and use a Kindle e-reader or the Kindle app for Android/IOS you will only be able to read those books and will not be able to buy new ones. If you want to start doing business with the Australian Kindle store, you won’t be able to read any of your past purchases anymore.
Will Australians start to bypass Amazon altogether and start pirating their ebooks? It might prove to be difficult because recently the government passed a law that allows internet service providers to block access to pirate websites. The Federal Court of Australia has to place an order for an ISP to block a website. The ISPs have a variety of different methods at their disposal, such as blocking access to the Pirate Bay. They can also take advantage of DNS blocking, IP address blocking, and URL blocking.
Update: Amazon reached out to Good e-Reader and said the following ““Both the sale of Kindle Devices and Content are unaffected by this law change. GST is already charged by Amazon AU on its sales of Kindle Devices to Australian customers on amazon.com.au. GST is also charged on the sale of Kindle Content to Australian consumers on amazon.com.au and amazon.com under the imported services and digital products legislation applicable from 1 July 2017.”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.