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Old 13.08.2010, 16:36
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Buying books off amazon

quick question. wanted to buy a book off amazon.com and wondered if i will be hit with import taxes? the book is $22 usd and would i be better off going to an amazon.ch (all in german tho) or amazon.co.uk??
experiences advice much appreciated
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Old 13.08.2010, 16:39
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I dont have an answer to your question, BUT only maybe an alternative...
I order all my books from www.play.com ..a UK website and they deliver for free (yes TRUE!) all books to your door in CH. So, I find that they offer the same books, price than amazon.co.uk...but best deal is that they deliver free to CH. Try them.
IMPORTANT: change the currency at the top of the page to EUR and then only can they deliver to CH.
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Old 13.08.2010, 16:42
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Re: Buying books off amazon

You shouldn't do for $22!
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Old 13.08.2010, 16:44
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Re: Buying books off amazon

that sites pretty good! thanks for that. and there is no problem when u buy off them and it's safe to put visa details in?? fab! thanks!
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:00
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I ordered books several times from amazon.co.uk and never had to pay import duties. I'm sure CDs/DVDs are treated differently.

And be careful with delivery charges, for some items it can be quite steep.
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:00
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I can ONLY recommend play.com. I have bought on it plenty on times, never a problem with visa details etc.

I recently ordered a Wii game, and after 21 days, if you have not received the order, you can report it 'not received'. Then they send me via email a claim form, sign and post it back to them etc. They have processed the claim within 3 days and I am now awaiting my replacement (hope to get it soon as its Harry Potter game for my boy!!).
eg..this harry potter game costs 80chf in Ch stores...I have bought it for MUCH less now on Play.com, and its (hopefully soon) delivered to my door.

BUT, this has been my 'first problem' on a delivery. and I have really ordered loads by them before. on the site also you can order things second hand, and I can also recommend that. the books were in great condition.

If you have a Iphone/Ipad...consider also then www.kobo.com ..canada site that you can buy ebooks from and read it on yr iphone/Ipad. Good prices and really huge collection, just download the kobo application. Its like Kindle etc.

Since I discovered Play.com...I no longer use amazon for my english books
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:03
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Re: Buying books off amazon

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that sites pretty good! thanks for that. and there is no problem when u buy off them and it's safe to put visa details in?? fab! thanks!
Hi Dunroaming. Play.com are well established, very popular in the UK and very reliable. Only once did I have an order not arrive after they dispatched it and they dispatched another on the day I complained.

They've had my VISA details for about 8 years. I should add that I've only ever used them in the UK.
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:03
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Re: Buying books off amazon

amazon.de or bookdepository.co.uk (both have free shipping).
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:06
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I always order books from bookdepository.co.uk I've never had to pay import taxes and their prices are good and with free delivery.
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:21
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Re: Buying books off amazon

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I always order books from bookdepository.co.uk I've never had to pay import taxes and their prices are good and with free delivery.
Seconded. I often find them to be cheaper than play.com, and routinely cheaper than Amazon.
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:31
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Re: Buying books off amazon

As long as the total order value INCLUDING shipping comes to less than CHF 66 with anything then there should be no charge. Because books are a lower VAT, in the case of books I believe the total is c. CHF 200. This is because they only collect VAT on amounts where the VAT comes to more than CHF5.

Either way you should be fine with a $22 order.
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Old 13.08.2010, 17:39
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I only use bookdepository.co.uk...very good with free delivery. I have found them cheaper than amazon and I also found they had a newly published book that I couldn't find elsewhere.
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Old 13.08.2010, 18:18
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Re: Buying books off amazon

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I dont have an answer to your question, BUT only maybe an alternative...
I order all my books from www.play.com ..a UK website and they deliver for free (yes TRUE!) all books to your door in CH. So, I find that they offer the same books, price than amazon.co.uk...but best deal is that they deliver free to CH. Try them.
IMPORTANT: change the currency at the top of the page to EUR and then only can they deliver to CH.
vouch for that, using them for years...no hassle, free delivery....since i was only ordering small quantities (under chf 100) i never got slugged with customs fees either. but i guess that was just lucky, you shouldn't count on it...
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Old 13.08.2010, 18:26
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Re: Buying books off amazon

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I only use bookdepository.co.uk...very good with free delivery. I have found them cheaper than amazon and I also found they had a newly published book that I couldn't find elsewhere.
For single books I'd go with bookdep, for lots of books go with amazon.co.uk

The logic is this: amazon books are cheaper, but the delivery charge for the 1st book is high, but then minimal for subsequent books, so we normally order 15 at a time from amazon.co.uk.

Amazon.de may have free delivery but don't forget that english language books are 'foreign language/imported' within germany and I've found them to be generally more limited in what they offer and more expensive.

Last edited by Geminder; 13.08.2010 at 18:27. Reason: missed a bit
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Old 13.08.2010, 18:55
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I know this wasn't books but my daughter was bought a toy off amazon by her grandparents and sent straight to this address form the uk, when it was delivered i had to pay the postie 6.50chf - the total cost of the toy was around 45 pounds and it was gift wrapped, so I thought it was pretty cheeky. I phoned amazon to complain and they refunded me the 6.50 which was good considering its not really their problem.
Now if people buy gifts for them they get it delivered free to the uk and post it themselves (usually cheaper too) haven't had a problem with that yet!

I have had loads of DVD delivered and never encountered a fee (yet)
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Old 13.08.2010, 19:21
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I always order books at amazon.de and the good thing is you get them net price. I never had to pay anything, only if you order more than, say, two, then order them seperately. Amazon used to deliver without shipping costs, but since i haven't ordered anything for a while, I don't know if they still do.
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Old 13.08.2010, 19:29
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Re: Buying books off amazon

I've never been charged import taxes on books from amazon (and I've used co.uk, .de or .com) but it's definitely a question of total costs - I know the limit for no tax at amazon.de used to be 100EUR but that was a while back so. Main reason I don't order from amazon.com any more is the shipping time - it's just quicker if you get it from closer.

Not been taxed on DVDs either but that could be just luck (i.e. they think that it's books from amazon).
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Old 13.08.2010, 19:37
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Re: Buying books off amazon

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the book is $22 usd and would i be better off going to an amazon.ch (all in german tho) or amazon.co.uk??
experiences advice much appreciated
What was the exact name of the book? Paperback or hard cover?
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Old 13.08.2010, 20:34
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Re: Buying books off amazon

If purchasing through amazon.co.uk, make sure to select standard delivery. I started another thread about this recently:

Import duties for online purchases - Some helpful tips

This goes into some of the gory details.
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Old 15.08.2010, 01:27
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Re: Buying books off amazon

We're an English-speaking family that's been in Switzerland for several years now and this has been our experience with the "Amazons"
  1. Amazon.com -- Best selection, but most expensive shipping; We only use them if there's no other choice.
  2. Amazon.de -- Generally poor selection, and their prices aren't particularly competitive.
  3. Amazon.co.uk -- Good selection and usually gives the best value of book cost + shipping.
  4. Amazon Kindle International -- This is unquestionably the best purchase you could possibly make if there are Kindle versions of the types of books you normally read AND you read more than just a few books a year. Go to the Amazon.com website and use the "Kindle" dropdown selection to decide if they have the books to keep you happy. Also, you can download the books via your computer to avoid the International wireless fee.
Regarding duty/taxes: It seems to vary--there have been times we've gotten console game cartridges (English + PAL), small electronics, or 100+ SFr worth of books in the mail and paid no duty. I've also gotten less than 100 SFr worth of console game cartridges or accessories and had to pay duty. Go figure.
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