Amazon finally catches up with the 21st century in Australia

Amazon LogoFor a retailer with one of the biggest, and possibly most sophisticated back office systems in the world Amazon demonstrated until a couple of days ago one of the most backward and antiquarian of systems when it came to paying Australian publishers who didn’t have an American bank account. While Google was quite happy paying earnings direct into our bank account every month in Australian dollars, and Lulu (Hague Publishing’s agent for Barnes and Noble and Apple sales) paid monthly into our PayPal account, and even Kobo was prepared to pay into our Australian bank account a maximum of every six months, Amazon would only pay by cheque in American dollars once our earnings had exceeded $100. This then required paying bank fees on the cheque, and on the conversion, costs which because of the complexity of the process we simply absorbed, rather than trying to split it up by individual sales and billing to our authors.

Now, however, the launch of Amazon’s new Australia store means that Amazon will be paying us monthly direct into our bank account in Australian dollars.

Perhaps more importantly Amazon will also be paying royalties of 70% of the list price, similar to what it had previously paid for American sales, rather than at the previous rate of 30%.

So good news for small Australian publishers without an American bank account, and their authors. But perhaps not such good news for the Australian reader who is now forced to pay GST, and in some cases according to a significantly higher price than what they have to pay for in the American store, e.g: A Game of Thrones: $4.99 AU, $2.90 US. The Signature of All Things: equivalent. Just One Evil Act: $19.99 vs $6.59. The Book Thief: $12.99 vs $2.90.

The price difference even seems to have happened to Hague’s own books with Bonnie’s Story: A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematics having the same list price of US$4.99 in both stores (ie $5.29 in Australian dollars), but being marked down to $4.39 in the US store.

Of course readers could get the book from our own website for $5 Australian without any DRM protection 🙂