Tractor Big Year: Amazon’s backdown in Australia

I’m still patiently working through course material on the modern world of self publishing. At the end of May, Amazon announced that because Australia will levy GST on its products, it would prevent Australians ordering products from its flagship U.S. site (amazon.com) by insisting we buy from amazon.com.au.

Wow. The Australian site’s product line is large but a fraction of the U.S. site’s offerings. In my main area of interest, books, we Aussies will no longer be able to order and have shipped to us paperbacks from America. This in itself doesn’t impact me because I no longer buy physical books, but what about Kindle ebooks? Will I be forced to buy them from the paltry range at amazon.com.au, sometimes at escalated protected-market prices?

But the implications are deeper. My naive plan, prior to May, was to publish my ebooks (and print-on-demand paperbacks) on amazon.com (and separately amazon.co.uk), assuming that Amazon would make them available on amazon.com.au at equivalent $AU prices. Now what will I need to do?

On the road I wasn’t able to investigate this properly, and I probably don’t need to do so right now. After all, whatever global publishing options are open to me will become amply apparent when I get to the starting gate. But my initial impression is that this Australian issue isn’t being debated widely online. Why not? What am I missing? More to come . . .

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