Thanks to Nate at The Digital Reader for alerting me to some reports from dissatisfied Canadian customers alleging that Amazon is trying to force them them into leaving the Kindle store now that Amazon.ca has launched its own storefront. From his write-up:

“Over the past couple days several of those readers have reported that many Kindle titles are showing up on Amazon.com as not being available to Canadian customers even though the same titles will show up on Amazon.ca as being available.”

Anecdotally, I can confirm that this is true. A few books on my wish list mysteriously became unavailable, and a search on Amazon.ca turned them up again. What concerns me is, the Amazon.ca Kindle store is a lot less developed than Amazon.com, so I am reluctant to switch my account over, as Amazon keeps prompting me to do. There is as yet no ‘Deal of the Day’ offering in the Canadian store (although there is a page of monthly specials), and when I have checked some of the American—and available to me—deals, they were not on sale in the Canadian store as well.

And this is not a both-or-either deal, either—you get one store, or you get the other one; if you switch over your account, you can’t buy from the .com store anymore.  So they are asking us, in switching over, to give up a service we have already in favor of a lesser service, and that’s not right.

And further, a recent article on the launch of Amazon Prime in Canada, which I somehow missed, points out that this is not the first time Amazon has foisted a lesser service on its international customers. For the same $79 Americans are paying, Canadians can subscribe to Prime, too, but minus the Kindle lending library and streaming video—the two features that make Prime really worth the price. I understand there might be content licensing issues at play on that one. But then adjust the price of the service accordingly, Amazon! Don’t charge us the same price and then offer us only a fraction of the features!

I am still able to access the content I care about—namely, the Daily and Monthly Deals—on the main .com Kindle store. Eventually, I suppose Amazon will force my hand and make the switch for me. But I will hold out for as long as I can. If the Canadian Kindle store were truly an equivalent product, I would have no problems with switching over. But it isn’t, and everyone knows it. It’s a shame that Amazon couldn’t have planned their Canadian launch a little better and set up a proper infrastructure before they began bullying people to change over. This whole thing has a sour taste to me, and I will hold off on switching over as long as I possibly can.