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Sunday 25 February 2018

We pay three times as much as UK for ebooks

Aideen Sheehan Consumer Correspondent

IRISH readers are paying up to three times as much for electronic books as customers in the UK.

Global book-selling giant Amazon is charging consumers here much higher prices for ebooks, a survey by the Irish Independent has found.

There has been a surge in popularity of electronic readers such as the Kindle, which promise cheaper books delivered straight to the handheld device via the internet.

But Irish readers are forced to purchase ebooks via the US website Amazon.com, whereas UK readers buy from the British-based Amazon.co.uk.

That is despite Irish customers being able to buy non-Kindle products from the UK website.

And people here are paying up to three times higher than customers in the UK, even though the books are delivered electronically.

The online retail giant has failed to clarify exactly why the prices are so different on its UK and American websites.

The Consumers Association of Ireland (CAI) has called on the EU to investigate the price gap for electronic books uncovered in our investigation.

The most glaring price discrepancy is for Irish psychologist Maureen Gaffney's bestselling self-help book 'Flourishing' -- the ebook version of which is nearly three times more expensive on amazon.com.

It is available for £2.30 (€2.83) from the UK site, but costs Irish readers $10.89 (€8.28) on the US site.

Of 10 popular ebooks surveyed, the US site charged more for every single one, with an average price gap of 21pc.

Chief executive of the CAI Dermott Jewell said he would raise the matter with European Consumer Group BEUC this week.

"It makes no sense to be charging readers in Ireland more than readers in Britain as there should be no difference in the cost of delivery," he said.

Linked

It is believed that ebooks now account for 30pc of Amazon sales, although exact figures are not available for Ireland.

Amazon said that Kindles purchased by customers located in the Republic of Ireland were automatically linked to the Amazon.com Kindle Store so all their books were purchased from Amazon.com.

"The Amazon.co.uk Kindle Store currently only serves customers based in the UK," a spokeswoman said.

But she did not address the question of why the prices differed so much.

Irish Independent

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