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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Guide to Buying and Shipping From Amazon

To search for books, please use the "Find Books" search button provided above. Before you buy, do read the customer reviews on the item selected for the description/information about the product/authors (you may need to scroll down to read the produst details on the results page as it is embedded in iframe). You can find the guide for purchasing digital media products such as Amazon MP3s, Amazon Video On Demand video downloads, Kindle content and Amazon Shorts here at our partner site. Alternatively, you may buy this item and folow this link > click here to go to Amazon.

Visit the Amazon Global Pageat amazon.com which show the selective catagories including books, electronics and much more items that can be ship to Singapore and selected countries. Or you may also visit International Shipping help page for more information.

1. Brief introduction
This guide should help you decide whether to buy from Amazon. Including Amazon branches example - Amazon US will be referred to as amazon.com, UK branch as amazon.co.uk etc.

Why buy from Amazon?
 
1. Some items sell at lower prices compared to local shops. This is especially true for books and video discs from Amazon US.

Personally, I'm quite sick of local retailers (Borders, Kino, HMV, etc) charging way too much for what they are selling.

2. Their variety is unmatched.

3. Their customer service is excellent. There's great return and refund policies. You'll have to pay for shipping charges if you're returning items though.

4. You don't have to pay GST in Singapore if your package is under SGD$400 including shipping. E.g. If you want to get SGD$600 worth of stuff, you should split them up into two orders, each under $400.

When is it not suitable to buy from Amazon?

1. If you need the item urgently. Shipping times differs and varies. Shipment may get delayed at customs, post offices, etc.

2. They don't ship electronics to Singapore.

If you do want electronics, you can use services like vPost who act as third parties to ship your items to Singapore. Amazon.com surface shipping is free for certain dollar amount so you just have to pay for the vPost shipping charges. I once paid $25 to vPost to ship a software package, the size of 3 CD cases, which is very expensive.

3. When price differences are small, it's not worth the effort and you should support local retailers instead. Generally, the more expensive the item is in Singapore, the more you'll save buying from Amazon.

2. The different Amazon branches

I shall now talk specifically on each Amazon branch I have bought from. The shipping charges listed below are all meant for shipments to Singapore.

(box) is a per shipment charge, (item) is per item. There can be many items in one box shipment.

Note that sometimes Amazon might ship your items in separate shipments (at their cost). Happens when your items are come from different fulfillment centres.

Also listed are the sales tax, which is only applicable to their local residence. That means to ship an item out of that country, for us, it will be cheaper. For example, if you're getting a book that cost $100 Euro from Amazon Germany (sales tax of 7%), you'll only need to pay $93 Euro. Shipping charges still remain the same.

Amazon.com (source)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • Standard Shipping 17-31 days
Books - US4.99 (box) - US4.99 (item)
Disc - US4.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)
  • Expedited Shipping 12-19 days
Books - US13.99 (box) - US5.99 (item)
Disc - US13.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)
  • Priority Shipping 3-7 days
Books - US29.99 (box) - US5.99 (item)
Disc - US29.99 (box) - US3.99 (item)

I normally use Standard Shipping and the delivery time is between 14 to 60 days although I've had rare occasions where boxes take two months to arrive.

Generally, the more expensive a book is in Singapore, the cheaper it is in USA. It depends on currency rates also.

For bulky or heavy items, there's an additional surcharge of US8 (standard shipping) or US10 (expedited and priority shipping). Anything more than 5 pounds (2.26kg) is considered heavy.

Amazon.co.uk (source)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • Standard airmail 8-12 days
Books - UK5.49 (box) - 3.29 (item)
Disc - UK2.09 (box) - UK1.59 (item)
  • Priority Express 2-4 days
Books - UK28.99 (box) - UK6.19 (item)
Disc - UK20.99 (box) - UK2.79 (item)

Sometimes books here are cheaper than Amazon US. This price difference is due to exchange rates and sometimes the book distribution agreement. Their per item shipping charge is lower.

The delivery is about 10 days, from my experience with Standard airmail.

Amazon.ca (source)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • Standard 8-12 weeks
Books - CA9.99 (box) - CA5.49 (item)
Disc - CA4.99 (box) - CA2.49 (item)
  • Expedited 2-4 weeks
Books - CA15.99 (box) - CA8.99 (item)
Disc - CA9.99 (box) - CA3.99 (item)
  • Priority 3-7 days
Books - CA19.99 (box) - CA9.99 (item)
Disc - CA19.99 (box) - CA4.99 (item)

There are plenty of books at better prices than Amazon.com. But the longer shipping time and higher shipping charges aren't worth it.

Amazon.de (source) - (Sales tax: 7%)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • Standard 7-9 days
Euro14 (box)
  • Express 2-12 days
Euro40 (box)

There are no per item charges. This means this is the best place to do bulk purchases. But items sold in Europe are relatively pricey.

The delivery is about 2 weeks, from my experience with Standard shipping.

Selected electronics, larger range, can be shipped direct from Amazon Germany.

Amazon.fr (source) - (Sales tax: 5.5%)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • Standard 12-15 days
Euro13 (box) - Euro1.90 (item)
  • Express 2-6 days
Euro19 (box) - Euro1.85 (item)

Again, items in Europe are pricey. There are per item shipping charges in addition to the box charges.

Amazon.co.jp (source) - (Sales tax: 5%)
Shipping charges and delivery times:
  • International Express 2-5 business days
Books - 1900 yen (box) - 300 yen (item)
Discs - 1400 yen (box) - 300 yen (item)

There's only one option here, International Express. The per shipment charge is expensive, but per item charge is relatively cheap.

Shipping is very fast. I've the shipping date confirmation on a Friday and it was here next Monday.

In general, the Japanese books in Kino are 20-30% more expensive than Amazon Japan (with per item charge but no per box added). Buying from Kino means you don't have to pay the hefty per shipment charge. Again, if you're buying a few books, Kino's price doesn't look very good already.

Amazon third party merchants

If Amazon doesn't ship the item you want overseas, try the Amazon third party merchants. Some merchants internationally, and will indicate on their page with "international shipping available". Their shipping rates and times are different, but are available on their merchant page. Generally, their shipping is more expensive than Amazon.

There's no consolidation orders for different items even if bought from the same merchant. E.g. If you buy a book and a DVD from merchant A, it will be shipped out in two boxes, and hence there will be two per-box charges.

3. Examples on calculating shipping charges

I shall use Amazon US shipping rates, the Standard Shipping, for these examples. Price of the items are not included.

For an order of 1 book:
US4.99 (box) + US4.99 (item)

2 books:
US4.99 (box) + (2 x US4.99) (item)

2 discs:
US4.99 (box) + (2 x US3.99) (item)

1 book, 1 disc:
US4.99 (box) + US4.99 (book) + US3.99 (disc)

You will see that the box charge, or per shipment charge, is always there.

Source: http://parkablogs.com/content/guide-buying-and-shipping-amazon-singapore

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1 comment :

antoshka said...

There are a lot of products on Amazon.com that can be shipped worldwide. Even if Amazon.com does not ship some, then other third-party merchants do. You can check if products can be shipped to your country with this little bookmarklet:
http://projects.nasherd.com/amazon/intl/bookmarklet.htm

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