images.jpgThis isn’t scientific, but it certainly communicates the basic truth of the matter as of August 5.

As of 4:30 pm Eastern time today, August 5, a US Kindle customer could have purchased the top 25 bestselling books in the US Kindle Store sales rankings for a grand total of $252.10.

Over in the UK, at exactly the same time, a UK Kindle customer could have purchased the top 25 bestselling books in the UK Kindle Store sales rankings for a grand total of £99.13, which is the equivalent of $157.58 in US dollars.

The books that make up the two lists, of course, are not exactly the same, although there is a fair amount of overlap. In general terms, the average of $10.08 for US Kindle Store bestsellers and $6.30 as the dollar equivalent of the average for UK Kindle Store bestsellers summarizes the overall pricing scheme quite well.

The difference between $252.10 and $157.58 is $94.52, and it means that US Kindle customers pay 59.98 per cent more for our Kindle bestsellers.

But we’ve got the agency model, and the Brits don’t! So there….

Oh, one more thing.

21 of the top 25 UK bestsellers have text-to-speech enabled, compared with 10 of the top 25 in the US.

Via Kindle Nation Daily


  1. Stephen,

    Using the best-selling books as a reference population cannot help but pick up the price sensitivity of the buyers, all but defeating the probable validity of the comparison.

    Even if a high end butcher shop in NYC and a low end supermarket in London had exactly the same choice of meats from steak to hamburger, you would get a similar effect. In fact, not looking back, I think you would also get the same effect even if every piece of meat had the same price in NYC and in London.

    Regards, Don

  2. Thanks for your comments, @Don and @Piet. The point here, of course, would be that in nearly every case these are the same books that the US Kindle store has an equal interest in promoting, but the US Kindle store is constrained from using price to promote agency model titles due to a collusive price-fixing scheme that would not be allowed in the UK due to its anti-competitive odor. @Don, while you make an excellent point about price sensitivity skewing the composition of the list, that dynamic works in exactly the same way on this side of the pond.


  3. Stephen,

    The comparison would be if all 10 NYC customers all bought steak at $5 and all 10 London customers all bought hamburger at $2 (in pounds). The US would seem to have a higher average price even if all prices were exactly equivalent.

    Regards, Don

  4. Is there anything to stop a U.S.resident from purchasing eBooks directly from the UK Kindle Store? (and just paying the currency conversion fee that one’s credit card imposes). That is, I wonder whether Amazon will institute any controls that prevents Americans from buying the cheaper UK books instead of their US equivalent?

  5. @Charles, as of there do not appear to be such controls.

    @Don, that’s understood, but anyone who takes a look at the two lists can see that customers in the two countries are buying roughly similar proportions of hamburger and steak. We do regular, extremely detailed price studies at Kindle Nation Daily, but we were trying to slip a quick snapshot by the statistics geeks in the group and hoping to cover our hindquarters with the opening line, “This isn’t scientific, but it certainly communicates the basic truth of the matter.” Foiled again!

  6. Charles, yes. Amazon uses your Kindle region setting for your account to determine the price of the books. While you can change the region setting, if it doesn’t match your IP, you may get warning emails from Amazon asking you to fax/send in proof of nationality. I’ve had that happen to me. I don’t buy much from them though, so no idea what the next step would be if you ignored that. I also have no idea how times you can switch regions back and forth before they start taking action.

  7. My Kindle was delivered to a friend visiting in the US and she brought it back with her when she returned. I live in the Caribbean and Amazon set my account to this region as it matches the address on my credit card. It is so frustrating that many books which are offered for free to US Kindlers cost me a $2.00US fee. OK, I can live with that BUT many of the authors I love are British and the books are not available on Amazon US. I see that Amazon UK has now started up but I cannot purchase without a valid UK address credit card. No problem in giving them a UK address but I cannot change the address on my credit cards. As KINDLE is now a big international seller, surely Amazon can find a way to make regions available to all Kindle owners.

  8. This stuff really makes me mad! People in the United States get screwed over because our politicians are in bed with business. It is like the only reason we are alive is so business can screw us! TV is no different. In Europe there are all kinds of options for free Internet TV. In the U.S. most are blocked. Another thing about Kindle, by the way I love my Kindle, some books are text-to-speach enabled and some not. Why do they care if I listed to my book while I shave. Lets all go together and tell them to shove a book if it is not text-to-speach enabled. I will not purchase anymore books with the text-to-speach enabled. Everyone should do the same! Have a great day.

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