an aberration of interplanetary commerce…

or i become an importer?

at this year’s o’reilly emerging technology conference i attended a talk by amazon’s werner vogels entitled e-commerce at an interplanetary scale.

the talk was at times irreverent and other times totally over my head. irreverent was amazon’s planning to deliver books to mars. and over my head was scalability and genetic algorithms/self-healing code/servers, etc. i’m not even sure.

so i’ve been listening to indie pop rocks on somafm since i started at o’reilly, and along side my work i’ve got a list of songs collecting that i particularly like. several songs by “the go! team” had collected in my list (huddle formation, get it together, the power is on) so last thursday i decided to check out their album on amazon.com. youch, $30.99 for an import that wasn’t going to be released until July 26th? that’s more than a month away.

hmm, “an import?” i thought. imported from where? turns out the uk. so i went straightaway to amazon.co.uk and looked up the go! team. their album cost £9.99 (about $18USD) and was usually dispatched within 24 hours. paydirt!

i was curious to see if they’d actually let me place an order. not only did it work, but since it was amazon (albeit the site design still a revision behind the current incarnation of amazon.com) they had all my info. the cheapest shipping option was airmail—made sense—for £3.08. and somehow the cd was discounted to £8.50 when i checked out, so all told i was charged £11.58 or $21USD to import the cd myself, save $10, and have it now.

the go team - thunder, lightning, strike

placed the order on thursday, june 16 and it arrived today, june 21. how awesome is that? my only question for werner is, in his vision of interplanetary commerce, why did i have to go through the rigamarole of placing an order through amazon.co.uk to get a cd to californ.i.a?

update: some thoughts from tim on the legal entaglements of interplanetary commerce.

Due to problems with clearing all of the samples, the album will probably never be released in the USA in its original “as the artist intended” form, so you’re wise to pick up the great import version no matter what the cost. If Amazon.co.uk doesn’t ship to the US (never tried that either!), you can get it from the very nice folks at Aquarius Records. They do mailorder or you can find them in the Mission the next time you make into SF.

4 Comments

anonymous

inTRAplanetary…unless Amazon has already colonized Mars.

granted what i was talking about was intraplanetary commerce… what werner is ostensibly getting amazon ready for is interplanetary commerce.

stephen

Hi Justin,

FYI – the amazon order in the UK was discounted because prices in the UK are quoted with a 17.5% VAT (sales tax) and, since yours was a foreign order, you’re not taxed.

S

stephen, cool, thanks for that heads up. good to know i didn’t cheat amazon.co.uk out of a £1.49.

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