Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kindle international surcharge – save some moola!

If you’re an international Amazon Kindle book customer, you’ll no doubt have noticed two things: a) the regional restrictions imposed by publishers, b) an additional $2 on the price of all books (to my knowledge, the UK and Australia don’t have to pay it).

To be fair, most international folk probably wouldn’t notice if it weren’t for sales or newsletters that display the American price. I don’t have any real problem with the surcharge (data costs are fairly expensive in my country), But for those of who want to save a few pennies, there are a few options available.

Books in the public domain
There are quite a few books on Amazon that can be found for free elsewhere. These books are usually out in the public domain – that is, their copyright has expired. In addition to older titles, there are also creative commons titles of new authors offering a sampling of their writing.
The books found at the above sites are generally DRM-free, so you should be able to convert them to your preferred eReader format with a program like Calibre.

Self-published authors
Smashwords is the indie store I’m most familiar with. Multiple formats are available, and they are all DRM-free. The best feature is the coupons. Occasionally authors will release discount codes for their books, saving you even more money.  I tend to get recommendations for the books on Amazon first, before I look for them here. There are a LOT of books on this site.

Traditionally published books
Sadly, I do not know many publishing houses that release eBooks that a) accept international credit cards, b) don’t have regional restrictions, or c) actually have a Kindle format (or DRM-free format to convert) without simply linking you to Amazon. However:

Angry Robot Books – promise DRM-free books, but their pricing is in UK pounds, so it might be cheaper simply to get the books from the US Amazon Kindle store.

Tor – gave away free PDFs a few years ago of some of their popular authors (who knows, they might do it again). I’ve also won a set of books from them, which makes me a fairly loyal follower.

Your thoughts:
Are you an international eBook reader? Have you discovered ways to get more book for your buck?

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