Amazon popularised e-book reader devices with the introduction of their original Kindle in 2007. Since then, they have a dozen or so different devices. However, if you want to buy a Kindle, you’ll find the problem that Amazon won’t ship it to Singapore. You probably know there are several options around that little hurdle.
The Kindle devices are so popular that even if Amazon won’t sell and ship them directly to Singapore, there are 3rd party resellers who will be very happy to do that. Another option, which seasoned online shoppers will be very familiar, is to use freight forwarding services.
If you are unfamiliar with all these shopping options, fret not, this handy guide will help you compare the different methods. Briefly, there are three paths you can take.
Method 1: Buy from Amazon and ship through a freight forwarder
The basic principle with freight forwarding is that Amazon sends your shopping to the U.S. based freight forwarder’s address, who will then ship your items back to Singapore. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up with a freight forwarder. There are many to choose from, including Comgateway, Borderlinx and vPost.
- You will get a U.S. address at which you can receive parcels.
- Go to Amazon’s website, shop, and ship your items to the U.S. address provided by the freight forwarder.
- Once the freight forwarder informs you that your parcel has arrived, instruct them to send it to you at your Singapore address.
As far as Amazon is concerned, they are shipping the Kindle to a U.S. address. The freight forwarder receives the item on your behalf, then sends it to you. This does take a little extra time. Even though both Comgateway and Borderlinx use express courier services (e.g. DHL), expect the Kindle to arrive 10 days or more after you order.
A small tip to note when using freight forwarding services is that as you are importing goods into Singapore, you will be liable for 7% GST if the total cost of the shipment (including shipping charges) exceeds S$400. Buy less to void GST.
I would recommend Comgateway or Borderlinx for Amazon items, because their addresses are located in sales tax-free states, so you will not have to pay sales tax. This is tax in the U.S., not Singapore’s GST.
The advantage with this method is that you probably get the best price for the Kindle. You pay Amazon’s direct price, plus the cost of shipping, which for one Kindle should be between S$20 to S$30.
The downside with this method is that if there are any warranty claim issues requiring to return the item, shipping both ways will be at your own cost.
Pros: Low price.
Cons: Waiting for delivery, warranty issues.
Method 2: Buy through a local reseller
The Kindles are so popular that they are several local resellers, such as SG E-Reader Shop. If you like to shop “locally”, even if online, this is probably the way you would feel most comfortable.
Local resellers usually will have ready stock on-hand, so they can ship really fast, and you can expect to receive your Kindle within three days or so. It’s also easy to contact them as they will local phone number you can call for enquiries or other after-sales support.
You can also expect at least some limited local warranty from local resellers. This is particularly important, because you can resolve dead-on-arrival and other serious defects immediately and locally, without the hassle of overseas shipping.
The convenience, assurance and support from local resellers come at a price though. Kindles from them will cost more.
Pros: Just like buying from any local shop.
Method 3: Buy from online marketplace
Working with online marketplaces has both its pros and cons. You may be able to read reviews and ratings by other customers about the seller, so you can make a more informed decision before you commit to a purchase. Do watch out for the warranty terms.
My chief concern with these platforms is the difficulty in contacting the seller for after-sales support. From my experience with Qoo10, I often find it difficult to contact the seller, and trying Qoo10’s customer support can be even more frustrating.
If everything works out, you can get a good deal. You’d think that it cannot be cheaper than Amazon’s direct price, but the interesting bit is that it can be when you use coupons or discount codes that may be offered by the marketplace from time to time.
Pros: May get good price.
Cons: Little customer support, varying delivery times.
Buying From SG E-Reader Shop
Disclaimer: SG E-Reader Shop provided a Kindle Paperwhite, which I’ll write a separate review post later.
Buying from SG E-Reader Shop is really easy. Just head to their website and place your order. They stock a variety of Kindle devices, as well as covers. If you want the Kindle urgently, you can arrange for same day self-collection, or next day delivery. Payment is via credit card (surcharge applies) or direct bank transfer.
SG E-Reader Ship offers five days 1-to-1 exchange policy on defective Kindles (see their terms for details), so you can have some peace of mind. If you prefer, you can purchase local warranty, valid for 11 months from date of delivery, where they will take care of the warranty matter with Amazon for you.
How does the price compare? Let’s look at the latest generation of Kindle Paperwhite.
- From Amazon: S$192 (US$119.99 Amazon price + estimated shipping charges)
- From Qoo10 seller: S$196
- From SG E-Reader Shop: S$209
SG E-Reader Shop’s cost the most, but the small premium may be worth the speed, convenience, and assurance. Do checkout their web store: sgreadershop.com