Amazon has been talking with publishers in Sweden, but the absence of any serious rumours, let alone confirmed reports, of deals with publishers, the books element of Amazon SE will likely be more along the lines of Amazon launches in Singapore, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
So the rumours are finally about to become reality. After many false starts dating back many years, Amazon is about to launch in Sweden, and likely with a wider remit across the Nordics, although as yet the site, still being prepared, seems to be only in Swedish.
Boktugg updated the saga over the weekend with screenshots, via Ehandel, showing the Amazon SE site via a server in Ireland. Access has since been blocked, it seems, but the detail, along with other confirmations, leave no room for doubt.
Ehandel.se can reveal that Amazon SE is in principle ready for launch. The e-commerce giant only needs to point to the domain Amazon(dot)se. By pointing Amazon(dot)se to one of the e-merchant’s servers in Ireland, we can at the time of writing surf around a completely Swedish Amazon SE site.
An on-site welcome letter from Amazon, per Boktugg, reads:
Since the launch of Amazon.com in 1995, hundreds of thousands of Amazon customers in Sweden have ordered millions of products from existing Amazon stores around the world. Today we are proud to present the launch of Amazon.se which improves the shopping experience for Swedish customers. We are excited to launch with a range of millions of products, including products from thousands of local Swedish companies in XX categories, from books, to home supplies, to home electronics, with low prices, reliable deliveries and fantastic customer service.
Sölve Dahlgren offers some interesting speculation in Boktugg over how this might pan out, including possible acquisitions by Amazon of print and digital players, up to and including Storytel.
But right now that all seems very distant.
We do know Amazon has been talking with publishers in Sweden (not so clear about the other Nordic countries), but in the absence of any serious rumours, let alone confirmed reports, of deals with publishers, I’m inclined to suppose the books element of Amazon SE will be more along the lines of what we’ve seen in other Amazon launches in the latter part of the 2010s.
That is to say, no serious publisher engagement, but a third party platform where books can be sold, shipped from US sellers or from KDP Print Amazon-partnered European printers for POD, and no Kindle store.
The last Amazon Kindle store was almost six years ago, in the Netherlands, and while Amazon has launched in several countries since then, books have not played a significant role.
Take Amazon Singapore for example.
The books available are either KDP Print (formerly CreateSpace) or third-party sellers, shipped from the US, and many listings show as unavailable. No ebooks and no digital audio. No links to Audible, just CD audio for some titles, again via third-party sellers.
It’s the same story for Amazon Turkey.
While Amazon UAE and Amazon Saudi Arabia are even less engaged. Both stores originated from Souk, and now have a book section stocked by third-part sellers. In this case no KDP Print POD titles, and of course no Kindle or Audible.
At this stage it’s hard to envisage the Amazon SE site being much different from the Singapore and Turkey launches, although that may change in the future, per observation above that Amazon has been at least in talks with Swedish publishers.
But it should be noted that Amazon-owned The Book Depository is among the third-party sellers, and has been actively soliciting publisher engagement across the Nordics.
It should also be noted that while there is no Kindle store for these newer Amazon sites, they do sell Kindle devices, and consumers will be able to buy territorially-enabled titles from the Amazon US store (at US prices).
In addition the Nordic languages are supported by KDP/KEP for both ebooks and print, while Arabic is supported for ebooks only, and Singapore languages Tamil and Chinese likewise have ebooks only support. Turkish is not a supported language at all.