I'm writing this post to remind myself how easy it is to order books from amazon.de—the German version of amazon.com—and for anyone else who might be considering such an order.
When you first go to amazon.de, the page can look intimidating, being mostly in German. This is not a problem, for three reasons:
- It's still Amazon. You'll be able to guess most of the important words simply because they correspond in position on the page to what you're accustomed to from amazon.com.
- If you're uncertain, Google Translate is a great help.
- On the top left of the amazon.de page, you'll see "Hilfe". This is "help" and will take you to a page where (on the left side) you can click on Information for English speaking customers. This section is—surprise!—all in English.
The company clearly expects some very nervous English-speaking customers, because the Step-by-Step Guide to Ordering is excellent.
From the English guide you can also learn about the Amazon Currency Converter. This is an option you can turn on or off in "Mein Konto" ("My Account"), from the main amazon.de page. Prices at amazon.de are given in euros. One payment option is to pay in euros with your credit card, letting the credit card company handle the exchange. But if you enable the Amazon Currency Converter, which stays on or off until you change it, Amazon will make the exchange. The primary advantage of this is that you know at the time of purchase exactly what charge will show up on your credit card bill.
If you're sending the order to Switzerland, you're in for two pleasant surprises:
- Shipping is free, with no minimum order.
- The price will be less than you expect, since the EU's VAT will have been subtracted.
More good news:
- I don't know the legal technicalities of the connection between amazon.de and amazon.com, but it uses the same account information (passwords and such) and address books.
- If you have an Amazon credit card, buying from amazon.de is just as 'way too easy as buying from amazon.com.
"Okay, so what's the down side?" I hear you ask. There is one: I've found books to be generally more expensive on amazon.de. Even so, buying from them is cheaper, and a whole lot faster, than having amazon.com ship overseas. And since the USPS got rid of its International Media Mail rate (Boo! Hiss!), buying from amazon.de is much cheaper (and again, faster) than buying from amazon.com and shipping the books yourself.