Amazon’s Book Depository Outlines GST Plans

In an interview with the AFR, Mitch Lang, the marketing manager at Book Depository said that Australians will be able to continue shopping with the company, as it will be collecting and remitting GST on overseas purchases, as required by the Australian Government.

“Australians will continue to be able to buy 18 million books from Book Depository with free delivery,” he told the AFR.

Amazon acquired the Book Depository business back in 2011, which at the time, was part of the e-commerce giant’s strategy to broaden its reach in the European market, while also taking control of one of its biggest book competitors.

However, the book e-tailer has remained largely independent of Amazon, operating as a standalone entity, a fact which has been reinforced by the company’s decision to comply with Australia’s updated GST laws, rather than withdraw its international operations from the country like Amazon has.

At the end of May, Amazon revealed its decision to block Australian consumers from its international sites, by redirecting Aussie shoppers to the company’s local marketplace.

“While we regret any inconvenience this may cause, from 1 July we will be redirecting Australian customers from our international Amazon sites to amazon.com.au where you can shop for products sold by Amazon US on the new Amazon Global Store, available today,” the company wrote in an email to customers.

At the time, Amazon cited being GST compliant as the reason behind the decision, however, retail experts have since come out to say that the move seems to be more about increasing the profitability of its local site that has been referred to as “underwhelming” by consumers and sellers alike.

“With the GST change, I think [Amazon] was probably put in a position where they thought it would be easier to push traffic and sales back to their Australian domain. This saves them the headache of collecting GST and then remitting it from US website sales,” Nathan Huppatz, the Co-Founder of Costumes.com.au told Power Retail.

“The other advantage, of course, Is that Amazon may already account for around 10 percent of Australian e-commerce spending (the majority of which, until this point in time, has come from AU shoppers buying on the US website). Pushing these sales to it’s AU website will perhaps provide for a large increase in sales on their AU site, encouraging more sellers to get on board, and fuelling growth in the local market.”

While Amazon has decided to boycott the GST changes, other online marketplaces and retailers, such as eBay and Missguided, intend to take the necessary steps to ensure the brands remain compliant, without impacting Australian shoppers.

“We will have a solution enabling Aussies to continue to shop from all eBay sites while also capturing the required GST. This requires major changes to eBay’s global systems and we are working to have these ready by 1st July. Australians will continue to be able to buy from any eBay site,” an eBay spokesperson said in a statement.

UK fashion e-tailer, Missguided, also intends to continue offering its range to Australian consumers, as it reportedly plans to implement the GST changes with hopes it will not need to pass these costs on to shoppers.

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