If you are based in India, you can buy books, DVD movies, video games and some other stuff directly from Amazon.com but in most cases, the high shipping costs to India would pretty much null out the cost savings, if any.
To give you an example, Steven Levy’s latest book on Google costs around $14 on Amazon but the International shipping charges that you’ll have to pay for getting that book delivered to an address in India would be around $20 or more. You could as well buy it from Flipkart where the book is available for $21 including free shipping.
That said, here’s an interesting news that may tempt you to buy books or movies from Amazon directly especially when they are not available in the Indian online stores.
Amazon has extended their Super Saver program to India meaning you won’t have to pay any shipping charges to Amazon if the total value of your order exceeds £25. The product categories that are eligible for free delivery currently include books, music and movies.
The delivery under Super Saver will take anywhere between 8-12 days though you can pay an additional fee for expedited shipping. This is an offer from Amazon UK and would not apply to purchases made on amazon.com or any of the other Amazon websites. However, if you already have an account at Amazon US, you may use the same credentials to open a new account at Amazon UK.
There are three additional things you should know.
Before you add a product to your shopping cart, make sure it is marked as “Delivered FREE with Super Saver Delivery.” Second, remember to select Super Saver as the delivery option under checkout else you’ll have to pay shipping charges. Finally, if you are ordering a DVD video or movie from Amazon, make sure that it is either region free or compatible with your DVD player (NTSC or PAL).
You may also be required to pay custom duties on certain items though, the last time I checked, books could be imported in India for free. The import duty on movie CDs and DVDs is ~27% (the customs officer may also ask for a censorship certificate) while for all non-movie related CDs and DVD, the rate is ~15%. If the total value of the package isn’t very high, it may even get cleared without paying any taxes – depends on your luck.
Related: Buying an Amazon Kindle in India