The Indian Government has petitioned a Delhi High Court to reverse a 2015 decision that exempted Amazon from paying customs and duty on Kindle e-readers that entered the country. This will undoubtedly result in millions of dollars of additional revenue that Amazon will have to pay to stay competitive against Flipkart.
The Kindle saga began in 2012, when Amazon approached the Authority for Advance Rulings and argued that their line of e-readers was exempted from duty under a rule that covered devices with translation or dictionary functions. The revenue department opposed the application and said that the “translation” and “dictionary system was not a core feature. The AAR ended up overruling the revenue department and sided with Amazon.
The Revenue Department filed an appeal and it was heard by the courts in 2015 and have recently elevated it to the High Courts a few weeks ago. “Notice has been issued to Amazon,” said Sanjeev Narula, the government lawyer in this case.
It remains to be seen how this whole situation will play out. India is a very important market to Amazon. A few years ago they brought Kindle Unlimited over and launched a huge marketing campaign. “Our e-book business is growing over 200% year-on-year, and e-books are quickly becoming a large part of our book business in India,” said Sanjeev Jha, director of Kindle content at Amazon.