Tuesday, October 6, 2009

US/INT'L Kindle for release Oct 19 '09 Update9

UPDATE 6 - Added "kindlecountries" file of country-specific Kindle information formatted from the Amazon page for easier browsing of where Kindles or Kindle content can be shipped and where wireless access is available for Kindle owners, as of October 6, 2009.

UPDATE 7 & 9 - The experimental web browser and blogs are NOT available in almost all the countries I explored, including the UK, France, and Italy.

  This is said explicitly for most countries, but Japan, Hong Kong, and Mexico do not have the negative wording, so they may well have the web browswer capability.  I didn't check the entire list for that though.

Check the detailed pull-down menu at the Kindle Int'l page for your country.  Book prices are different and there are such things as the VAT or value-added-tax being included in the UK pricing but also purchases in some countries being subject to customs duties, import taxes and other fees levied by the destination country. Those fees will show upon upon checkout.

UPDATE 8 - Clarification of the $2 charge
  "When traveling abroad, you can download books wirelessly from the Kindle Store or your Archived Items. U.S. customers will be charged a fee of $1.99 for international downloads."
  This can be avoided by having the book be downloadable to your computer instead, for transfer to your Kindle via the USB cable.

NOTE that for the UK and other countries:
  "You can transfer personal documents to your Kindle via USB for free at anytime. Service fees for transferring personal documents via Whispernet are currently $.99 per megabyte." (vs the $.15 per megabyte for U.S. customers nearer the servers).

UPDATE 9 - Wireless coverage maps for all Kindles
These are now under "Whispernet Coverage" in the reference section (right-hand column).

Main blog entry Oct. 6
I will be updating this blog article as it goes! Our conjecture about the reasons for the weekend glitches was on the money.  It had to do with international sales and the horrors of publisher prohibitions in some areas while making agreements in others.

  Hardcover sales don't know international boundaries that e-books are subjected to by the publishers.  That makes a nightmare for the programmers since people are temporarily in some places where rules are different.

BUT the INTERNATIONAL KINDLE is a reality now.  Pardon the caps.
  And this means "no monthly charges" in those areas too, per the product page ad.

These will be ready October 19 for wireless use in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Cambodia, Japan, Taiwan, Cayman Islands, and other countries that I've not checked yet.  Countries not involved yet include Canada, China and Singapore, alas. Australia gets a special page of its own.  Beyond that, I've not checked for now.  Check the pull-down menu on the product page though.

Here are the following Kindles and pricing as of now, for ordering and, in the case of the new Kindle with International capabilities (3G), pre-ordering.

Kindle 2 - $259,   Kindle US/Int'l - $279, Kindle DX - $489

Also, Australia needs to sell one without a power adapter and relies on the USB cable for power.   Go to AUSTRALIAN Kindle page.

WIRED magazine's Steven Levy has more salient details and quotes from Jeff Bezos
' As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explains it in a phone interview with Wired, “The two Kindles are identical, except for the radio.” The new device does not sync with Sprint, which was previously the exclusive supplier for Amazon’s Whispernet technology.  Instead, it works with AT&T’s wireless network, which has the global reach that Amazon needs for its international plans.

...Won’t everybody want to spend 20 bucks more on the AT&T version that that works all around the world, even if a cross-border trip isn’t on the immediate horizon? “I would!” says Bezos. Indeed, having a Kindle that downloads from overseas means you can get your favorite newspapers and magazines delivered instantly, at the same cost you pay at home. '
The Lonely Planet series will be sold on Kindle along with currently available Frommer, Rick Steves and Michelin.

In Europe, the current Kindles that people have will not work with the European AT&T wireless.   This is kind of funny:
' ... Those who bought a Kindle in the last 30 days can exchange them for the international version.  Maybe the biggest gripes will come from those who bought the most expensive Kindle, the supersized DX.  Imagine sitting in a Paris bistro with your US-download-only $490 DX and watching some tourist with a puny $280 Kindle filling up with newspapers, Michelin guides and the latest Michael Connelly thriller.
  The story explains the complexities of copyright and royalties dependent on where an e-book book is sold and mentions that of the 350,000 books in the Kindlestore, only 200,000 will be available in some countries.

  Also, publishers who will not release a Kindle edition along with the release of a hardcover edition are being somewhat shortsighted.  Bezos says, ""When you’re on NPR and someone goes on their Kindle to look for the book, it’s your chance to make that sale... They won’t remember in a month or two.”

While Bezos startled the publishing world by announcing that Kindle sales were 35% of Amazon book sales in cases where Kindle editions were also made available, Wired reports: "Now, he says, the number is up to 48 percent."

  Here's a point Jeff Bezos made, which is important re pricing:
' The international Kindle is not just for Americans traveling abroad.  Bezos says that Amazon’s sales patterns show a sizable demand for English language books in countries that speak other languages.  Until now, readers in those countries have found such books to be expensive and hard to find, not to mention slow to arrive after being ordered.  The global Kindle will make the process cheap and instant.
  In connection with digital tablet rumors, Wired reports:
' He says that Amazon is hard at work making software apps (like the one already available for the iPhone) that will extend the Kindle system to other devices. He’s also still open “in principle” to rival e-reader manufacturers who wish to use the Kindle store to provide content.  But he feels that while people may read on phones and web-surfing tablets, the dedicated e-reading device will keep improving.
  “We want Kindle to be the best way to read,” Bezos says. And now, people can read books that they download outside the US.
See more details at WIRED magazine.

I will be doing more updates with the detail I find for countries that I can summarize.

You can try the pulldown screen for countries of interest to you at the Kindle Int'l page though. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. I've put together a table that lists every country in which Kindle is available along with number of books, their pricing, wireless availability etc at http://blogkindle.com/2009/10/international-release-of-kindle-2/

  2. Andrei,
    Even better! Thanks.

    - Andrys

  3. FYI, you quote Wired:

    >>' ... Those who bought a Kindle in the last 30 days can exchange them for the international version. Maybe the biggest gripes will come from those who bought the most expensive Kindle, the supersized DX. Imagine sitting in a Paris bistro with your US-download-only $490 DX and watching some tourist with a puny $280 Kindle filling up with newspapers, Michelin guides and the latest Michael Connelly thriller.<<

    But Customer Service informed me that no, this is NOT possible, after all.

  4. are,
    From what I read, it is possible but it will cost the Parisian bistro person a lot. The downloads of a book are an extra $1.99 over wireless (but there's no no extra cost if you send it for download to your computer), and I think newspaper and magazines will carry an extra $5/week for the wireless delivery but it all depends on the country.

    Everyone must examine the information for their own country that is in the Amazon pulldown menu as that will change often!

    France definitely has wireless access to the Amazon Kindle versions of newspapers etc even if they can't web browse as we can since that function has been disabled over there.

    OR, did you mean that Kindle's couldn't be exchanged? Jeff Bezos said they could be within 30 days and since there is a 30 day return policy that would certainly be true.

    When you get a reply from a customer rep that doesn't seem to make sense, ask for the supervisor or just call again later and ask someone else the question.

  5. This news means I'm going to return my newly purchased DX and wait for the international version. I live outside Sprint's coverage area; AT&T is the only service that works in this rural Vermont town (I had to give up my Sprint phone when I moved here).

  6. I'd call Kindle customer support at 866-321-8851 and ask a *knowledgeable* customer support person or one who will triple check the question --
    whether the Kindle 2 Int'l being delivered will have the web-browser *disabled* here as it is in all the other countries I ran through quickly.

    Maybe not, if you live in the U.S. That'll give you an idea what the policy will be for the int'l DX.

    But if you can use the experimental web browser in the U.S., then that should be fine.

    I'd do the same thing.

    - A

  7. The product page seems pretty clear about the browser being available in the US. Even if it weren't, I'd be willing to give that up to have free samples, the Kindle store, content delivery without USB, time of day set correctly after reset, firmware updates, etc.

  8. Mark,
    A very good point. Actually, several good points :-)

    - A

  9. The end price if I want to order it ends up on 375 dollars US. That's just way too much. Almost ordered one yesterday, then decided against it. I think I'll wait to see if they do an _actual_ european release.

  10. Anders,
    That IS a hefty added bunch of special country charges! I'd hesitate too.

    Most of us bought these in late February w/o Int'l access and in that case we paid $360 but that was then!

    The Sony coming out in December will be $400 here but you may be able to buy it over there without all the extra charges and it has ePub file support as well as native PDF support.

  11. If I live in Sri Lanka and bought a global kindle, is there any possible way to get the wireless support ? I can pay accordingly.. if so can you please give me some information.

    my email: glahiru@gmail.com

  12. lahiru,
    The product page for Sri Lanka http://bit.ly/kindle2i says that wireless is not available for Sri Lanka. Amazon does it by country (and its wireless agreements) and not by individual.

    However, the page also says that free Wikipedia is available. How that would be w/o wireless is odd, so I will check up on that.

    Sorry I don't have better news.

  13. Correcting one of my entries. The $5/ week for newspapers when out of the country is for U.S. residents.
    Kindle owners outside the U.S.A. won't be paying add'l wireless charges for downloading books or other Amazon content when they are traveling elsewhere, including the U.S.

    U.S. residents have reported being able to use their Kindle's web browser when traveling in Germany. That surprised me.

  14. I'm an owner of an international Kindle and actually created a blog (kindleph.tumblr.com) just to air my frustrations about the difference between availability, prices and general content of the Amazon Kindle US, UK and Asia-Pacific stores. Still like the Kindle though. Hope the selection (and the prices) in our part of the world improves.


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