Tatsuhiko Miyagawa's Blog

Linked accounts on Amazon

June 02, 2018

tl;dr you have two Amazon accounts linked across different marketplaces? You’re screwed.

I have two Amazon accounts, one on .com and another on .co.jp using the same email address. They essentially have completely different account namespaces and there’s no problem with this.

I have my JP account since 2000 and the US account since 2007. Both of them are Amazon Prime accounts.

Around 2012–15, when Amazon.co.jp launched Kindle for Japan, they offered the feature to link these .com and .co.jp accounts. Linking them would allow both of your accounts share the bookshelf, meaning both accounts can access each other’s digital content, while being able to switch the primary store through the UI.

Initially I was skeptical, but a couple of friends who have done it told me that it’s working great. I opted in for the account linking.

This indeed has worked great. My Kindle device at the time can read books from both .com and .co.jp bookshelf, and I was able to buy new books from .co.jp using my account on the JP store.

To change the store to buy Kindle books from, all I need is to go to amazon.com/myk and change the preferred marketplace. For a long time, mine has been set to Japan, so that I can buy books from Japan for Kindle.

Now, fast forward to 2018, they have expanded the Amazon Prime and Digital Content market store to many other fields, including Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Echo applications.

The problem is that the “Preferred Marketplace” setting above, which was originally set for Kindle, now affects how the default storefront should be for the other Amazon devices. And the setting is global and shared between the linked accounts.

This is what happened to me:

  • The Amazon Echo dot I was using suddenly stopped working with my US Amazon accounts, and the Alexa Skill I was using stopped working, because the skill is unavailable in Japan.
  • Amazon Fire TV stick tries to connect to Prime Video Japan, and majority of the videos cannot be streamed outside Japan anyway.
  • I bought a Kindle Fire tablet and setting up the account connects to the Japan storefront. There’s no way to watch Prime Video on Kindle Fire in my account.
  • Trying to add my family member to Amazon Household and to share the Amazon Prime benefit (Prime 2-day free shipping) doesn’t work, because apparently the preferred store setting is shared across the Amazon Household members. Now, all of the issues above can be solved by changing the Preferred store back to Amazon.com:

This setting can be changed on the website, and I have done it in the past.

The issues I had above were gone, but of course brought other problems:

I cannot buy books from Amazon.co.jp Kindle stores anymore, and my Fire TV cannot load TV content from Japan when traveling to Japan, because now the preferred market store setting is global and is set to the US on both my .com and .co.jp accounts.

I just wish that there is a way to unlink these two accounts, so that I can get out of this mess. One account for .co.jp, and another for .com, just like it used to be. I have tried many phone calls against Amazon customer support reps, and they have been unable to help me.

Amazon has stopped offering this linking account feature sometime in 2016 (well, wise for them, because this feature brings a terrible user experience), and they do not offer a way to unlink the accounts.

The only way out I have right now seems to be that I just cancel either of these accounts, and create a new one, to get a fresh start. But of course both of my accounts are more than 10 years old, and losing the history of purchases and digital downloads pains me a lot.