Many new UK self-published authors I have had reason to be in contact with are often unaware that their ebooks that are available on Amazon.co.uk are restricted to UK buyers only.
Depending on where you live, Amazon’s geo-control of its Kindle stores can restrict what you can buy.
This is logical for physical products that need to be shipped by online retailers. But for electronic downloads such as ebooks, it is not always logical.
In many cases, you can buy ebooks from other Amazon stores. But it is not always the case.
While it is impossible to notice this if you are in the UK, an ebook’s page on Amazon.co.uk will have the ‘buy button’ removed for all non-UK customers, and replaced with the following notice for your Kindle ebook.
Instead of this one, which lets buyers, buy ebooks!
Almost all retailers use geo-protection
The cause of the notice is because all Amazon Stores are geo-protected in some form for UK authors.
However, there seems to be more strict restrictions on the Amazon UK store than on others.
For UK self-published authors, it is absolutely essential to make sure that any Kindle book buy links posted to social media are using the Amazon.com ebook page link.
While it is inconvenient, it is a matter of making sure that an ebook is made available to buy to as many potential readers as possible.
As the US is the biggest market for ebooks, it makes sense to use US links and not UK links. Additionally, Amazon.com links will allow purchases by a whole host of other countries, other than just the US.
But why is this so?
It may have something to do with the history of Amazon UK.
Bookpages.co.uk, a UK online book retailer, became Amazon UK on October 15, 1998. So perhaps there was an agreement at that time to keep Amazon UK separate, or maybe on something similar to a franchise basis.
Whatever the reasons, Amazon UK up to today is a very different site from other Amazon ebook Stores.
Even to the point that Author Central UK does not link in at all with Amazon Author Central US.
Reviews from UK readers are kept separated, and book rankings are calculated and displayed in an entirely different form.
These differences are important for UK self-published authors to understand, as negotiating these barriers is the only way to achieve reasonable sales success if you use KDP UK.
While it may seem that ebooks by UK self-published authors are available to the world, the truth is that only UK book buyers get a buy button when they visit or stumble across a UK ebook link on social media.
For people outside the UK, it is very doubtful that they will go to the trouble of copying the ebook’s ASIN number and then go to Amazon.com, then paste the number, and then find the ebook.
When the rest of the world finds an Amazon.co.uk link to UK self-published authors and their ebooks, it will be a dead end.
My advice to UK self-published authors is to always include two links in any promotional posting.
One for the UK, and one for the US, which literally means the rest of the world.
But if there is a place for only one book buy link, use the US link to Amazon.com, and give your ebook the best chance of selling.
Article Update: There may have been a change in how Amazon cross-links ebook pages between its stores. In my case, I can now see a buy button on Amazon UK. This was not the case for me in the past. So it might pay to check your ebook pages on different Amazon stores.