Amazon: Synonym for ‘confusing’December 22, 2011
Amazon have a ‘Big Deal’ sale on Kindle books until December 23, 2011. So I clicked the link for the Amazon store, and saw that a book I’d read through my local public library was on sale for $1.99 (I’ve used yellow highlighting to show the relevant bits) .
I quite enjoyed the book and thought my Mum might like it (she has a Kindle). So I clicked the book’s cover to find out more and to purchase this book for her. And I got this:
Confusing moment #1: The price is now $14.37 for the Kindle edition! What? The link I clicked had it at $1.99, so why is it now $14.37? It was only December 21 when I clicked the link, so the deal hadn’t expired.
Note: When I clicked the link for the Kindle edition, Amazon was happy to sell it to me for $14.37, not $1.99 as advertised on the Big Deal sale page. Guess what? I didn’t buy it.
Confusing moment #2: Below the title, author and star rating is a statement that pricing information isn’t available. Yet there’s pricing listed for three different editions and three different sources.
So I looked closer at the page to see what was going on, and spotted this:
Confusing moment #3: Amazon obviously knows I’m from Australia, so why did it show this book on the ‘Big Deals’ page in the first place if it won’t sell it to customers from Australia? Why does it show the pricing of the various editions etc. and allows a potential customer to click on those prices, yet shows this message that I can’t purchase this book in ANY edition because I live in Australia up in the top right corner of the page where I won’t see it? And why can’t I buy a book just because I live in Australia? It’s a Kindle book, NOT a printed and bound book, so the publishers’ agreements should have already been sorted for international distribution by electronic means. It’s unlikely I could buy this book in a bookstore as bookstores don’t sell Kindle books, only Amazon does! I’m getting confused…
Then add to this mix this gem from the official review:
Confusing moment #4: Disher is an Australian author. He’s won Australian awards. I’m an Australian living in Australia. I have an internet connection and an Amazon account. I can go to the Amazon site and buy books, as I have done for many years. But I CAN’T buy THIS book because I live in Australia!
There’s something very wrong about that.
But equally, there’s something very wrong with the Amazon site too. Not only is it confusing regarding pricing, but if Amazon already knows I’m from Australia and thus knows that it can’t sell me that book, then why doesn’t it put that information on the book’s main page in a popup message or similar, right in the middle of the browser window where I can see it? Why hide the information in a little box in the top right corner of the window?
This is not the sort of user experience that would encourage a potential customer to buy from Amazon.
I’m pretty savvy around websites; my 80-year old Mum isn’t. She buys Kindle books, so this sort of experience would be very confusing for her. Hell, it was confusing enough for me!