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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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October 2009
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Why there will be fewer Kindle firmware updates in the future

Personally I’m used to updating software. Pretty much every week one or another piece of software on my PC updates – be it Windows itself, the antivirus, iTunes or whatever. I’ve subconsciously come to expect the same from Kindle. And at first Kindle firmware did update quite frequently:

As you can see it seems that Kindle 2 got several updates soon after release and then there was silence.

Early update rush was caused by bugs in the new software. One or two updates were caused by law suit (Text-to-speech, and Orwell book deletion). However, note that none of the updates introduced new features. I guess Amazon sticks to the policy – don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.

Kindle DX and Kindle international share most of the software with original Kindle so there is little room for new critical bugs.

But most importantly, the number of Kindles in operation has exploded since the beginning of 2009. And this is probably the most important reason why we will not see many Kindle updates in the future and probably none of them will be feature driven. Amazon pays Sprint 12 cents per megabyte transferred. It would be safe to assume that Amazon gets similar pricing from AT&T for domestic traffic and a much higher price for data roaming. Average Kindle update is 2 megabytes in size. Because of the way Amazon structures the update packages, this accumulates as each subsequent update includes all previous updates as well. So first update was 2 megs, second one was 4, third – 6, etc.

6 megabytes times 12 cents is $0.72 per device updated. By some estimates there may be 2..3 million Kindle devices in operation. Let’s assume that 80% of devices are within wireless coverage (although in reality this number can be much higher). This adds up to $1,440,000 to $2,160,000 per software update deployment and increasing with every update version. And this is just to update domestic Kindles. I wouldn’t even want to think about the pricing to worldwide distribution. Also I wouldn’t want to be the software developer who makes a critical bug that causes an update or that software developer’s boss for that matter…

Given these numbers I don’t believe that Amazon would release update unless they have a very strong reason to do so. Strong reason being a court order or something else of this sort. This more or less addresses they questions of where Amazon will add folders, PDF support for Kindle 2 or official Unicode fonts for that matter via an update. The answer is a definite NO.

On the issue of fonts I’m most sure since Unicode fonts in the updates that I use (that add only partial support without all of the font styles) are 1.5..3 megabytes. Proper Unicode support can easily add up to 10 megabytes. So this would mean millions of dollars spent with potential to spend more millions in the future and near zero return of investment since although many people would like to have this feature, for most of them it’s not a deal-breaker (especially since on Kindle DX you can have any kind of fonts via PDF files). The few books that have non-Latin characters that Amazon sells use Topaz format to embed the extra glyphs that they need. So adding Unicode fonts would help customers read books that Amazon doesn’t sell. In this light the question about Unicode fonts via an update for existing devices is a no-brainer.

It is possible that this support would be included in Kindle 3 or whatever else the next generation Kindle will be called since in this case the cost for Amazon is just licencing fee for the fonts.

Unicode Font Hack v0.2, now for Kindle International too!

kindle-international-unicode-font-hackI’ve create Unicode Font Hack that also works on Kindle 2 International. I’ve also reorganized the files to minimize download times. Each device/font combination can now be downloaded as separate file. That file would contain only update binaries. Source code for all binaries can be downloaded separately. I’ve updated the hack page accordingly. You can find instructions as well as more detailed information there.

I’ve made the following changes to the hack:

  • Removed browser only hack since it didn’t add much value – if you still want it you’ll need to build it from the sources yourself.
  • Changed the uninstaller so that it removes extra font files completely as some of you have requested this feature.
  • Since droid hack uses the same font, rather than making multiple copies I’m using symlinks now so the hack uses less disk space on Kindle.

Here are installation instructions:

  1. Download one of the following files:
    1. Droid fonts: this is an open-source font that comes from Android Google OS. This font looks quite nice and supports Asian characters. However it only comes in sans serif style:
    2. Liberation fonts. These fonts come from RedHat linux and are open-source. Personally I don’t find them as nice as droid. It doesn’t support Asian characters. However it does support all 3 font styles – serif, sans serif and mono-spaced.
  2. If you have international version of Kindle 2 you need to jailbreak it first:
    1. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
    2. Download this file: update_freekindle-k2i.bin
    3. Copy it to the root directory of your Kindle.
    4. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
    5. The update WILL fail. This is expected. However from now on you will be able to install custom Kindle updates.
  3. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
  4. Copy update package that corresponds to your device to to the root directory of your Kindle.
  5. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
  6. The update will install, Kindle will restart and when it does – new fonts are going to be in effect. Please not that for International Kindle it will take some time before the installation progress bar moves as font files are large and it takes a long time for Kindle to verify the update signature.

To uninstall:

  1. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
  2. Download  and copy uninstall package that corresponds to your device to to the root directory of your Kindle.
  3. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
  4. The update will install, Kindle will restart and when it does – old fonts will be used and there will be no trace of the hack in the Kindle file system. So official updates will install once again.

If you would like to customize the fonts – you can do so by downloading the hack sources and modifying them. I have to warn you that this is risky business though. It may be a good idea to install the antibrick hack before you proceed.

Kindle anti-brick hack

When I was first working on Unicode Font Hack for Kindle 2 I bricked mine by messing up the fonts configuration. This prevented Java GUI from starting up so I had to way to install an update that would reverse the change.

While this hack will not fix your already bricked Kindle it will give you a chance to unbrick yours in the future. All it does is it installs a startup script that would scan check system directory for exec.sh and execute commands that are in there. File is then renamed to exec.sh.done to avoid infinite executions. This will give you a chance to run some commands even if Java GUI doesn’t start for one reason or another. It will also give you ability to run commands on your Kindle without having to roll updates for every command, use serial console or USB networking hack.

Since this gives you the ability to run any commands on your Kindle this surely gives you the ability to irreversibly brick it as well. So if you don’t know your way around Linux I don’t recommend you install it at all.

That being said, the hack can be downloaded here: kindle_antibrick.zip

All you need to do is copy appropriate  (update_antibrick-k2.bin for Kindle 2, update_antibrick-kdx for Kindle DX and update_antibrick-k2i for Kindle International) file into root directory of Kindle USB drive just like any other hack. It will also copy small sample exec.sh into system directory. Upon successful installation this script will create a file antibrick-success.txt in the root folder.

If you are doing this on Kindle 2 international you need to jailbreak your Kindle first.

Since it doesn’t change any existing files it is not intrusive in regard to official Amazon updates and will not prevent them from being installed.

update_antibrick_remove-*.bin files remove the hack. Once again you should use the file that corresponds to your device version.

I’ve decided to publish this before I publish the updated Unicode Fonts hack so that people who would want to modify the hack may install this first.

Jailbreaking the International Kindle

I was quite close to publishing similar findings myself but Jean-Yves Avenard beat me to it. It is now possible to create custom updates for International Kindle that runs firmware 2.2.* Fortunately there is no need for hardware changes

A little background information first. A while back Igor Skochinsky found serial console connector on Kindle 1 and reverse engineered scripts that Kindle uses to update it’s firmware. Since Amazon is paying for it’s wireless traffic they don’t push full firmware dumps as updates but rather compressed linux patches that only change the things that need to be changed and are relatively small. In Kindle 2 same scripts were used. The only thing that changed was device ID. This was to safeguard against installing update for wrong Kindle device rather than to prevent custom update installation altogether. Kindle DX was a similar story.

However it all changed when Kindle 2 International came out. There was a device ID change as well but updates still failed to install. Using debug commands that still worked (you need to type then in the home screen search box – they are quite harmless will not break your Kindle):

  • ;debugOn
  • ;dumpMessages

Amonng other housekeeping messages it returned the folloing lines:

091021:102422 EXT3 FS on mmcblk0p1, internal journal
091021:102422 system: I _otaupexec:def:processing update /mnt/us/update_tool.bin
091021:102422 system: I _otaupexec:def:version is “FC02″
091021:102422 system: I _otaupexec:def:update image checksum OK
091021:102422 system: E _otaupexec:def:signature does not exist for “tool.sh”
091021:102422 system: E _otaupexec:def:signature verification failed

So it looked like Amazon was signing update packages now. Worst case scenario would have been usage of asymmetric encryption keys like RSA that would be impossible to break until we have working full-scale quantum computers. Best case would be Amazon using something simple – like tar file scrambling that they are using to “encrypt” the whole update file.

I was trying to break into the Kindle via serial console that can be exposed by sliding the top plastic cover off the device but fried my Kindle in the process.

While I was waiting for the new device to arrive, mobileread.com member clarknova suggested using a tarbomb to break into the new Kindle. He assumed that new Kindle would still use the old code to extract files from the update before verifying the signatures. It proved to be true. A tarbomb exploits the fact that linux tar would extract anything that is given to it and might put it somewhere where package receiver didn’t intent it to go. For example older versions would honor relative paths, so if tarball contained file ../../etc/rc5.d/S00kill-code and most likely user would try to unpack the file in /home/username, the malicious file would go into /etc/rc5.d/ and get executed on the startup. While version of tar that is installed on Kindle discards parent directory references, it allows to unpack a symlink that points anywhere in the filesystem. This allowed to craft an update that would still fail to install but in the process would deposit a startup script that would unlock further access to Kindle internals.

Unfortunately Amazon did use the asymmetric encryption to sign the packages. Fortunately there is a very nice way around. Kindle doesn’t use just one key to verify the signature – it enumerates all key files in /etc/uks directory and if any of the keys yields a positive signature validation – the file passes the test. So Jean-Yves Avenard created a tarbomb that would add extra public key to that directory. He also modified Igor’s script to use corresponding private key to sign all the files in the package.

Nice thing about this mod is that it doesn’t change any files in Kindle filesystem, it just adds. So it will not cause checksum conflicts when installing official Amazon updates in the future. However if you use this jailbreak mod to install other updates like Unicode Font Hack, screensaver, savory, etc that DO change files then standard rules apply – official updates will fail and you’ll need to revert the hacks, install official update manually and then reinstall the hacks. Although I doubt that we’ll see many official Amazon updates anytime soon. I’ll make a separate post on this topic at some other time.

I’m pretty sure that in the next version of the device (International Kindle DX perhaps or whatever comes next), Amazon will fix this vulnerability and serial console might be required to install things on Kindle or perhaps some other security exploit. But for now here are specifics:

You can download the “jailbreak” update here. I’ve tested it on my Kindle and it works perfectly. It also contains the updated script to create your own packages. However I would strongly advise you to do it only if you really-really need to, really-really know that you are doing and are willing to brick your device. Several people were known to irreversible brick their Kindle eBook readers by experimenting with them. I bricked two so far trying to create unicode font hack – one US Kindle 2 a while back another Kindle 2 International recently.

So if you are not sure about what are you doing – stick to pre-canned hacks from verified sources that have been tested to work and have uninstallers available. These are relatively safe though again there is always a chance of something going wrong and hacking the Kindle absolutely does void the warranty.

I’ve tested the pre-canned screensaver hack that can be downloaded here and it does work perfectly.

To avoid having to jailbreak Kindle multiple times and creating potentially conflicting hacks I recommend to all Kindle modders out there to use Jean-Yves Avenard’s packager and private/public key pair for creating Internaional Kindle hacks. I’m going to use it for Unicode Font Hack myself.

Right after publishing this post I’m going to reorganize the Unicode Font Hack a bit and release a new version for all Kindle versions including the international one. Stay tuned!

Hacking the International Kindle – First Attempt

RS-232 to TTL converter for Kindle

RS-232 to TTL converter for Kindle

If you were wondering why there were no posts lately – I’ve been busy trying to come up with a way to install Unicode Font Hack on Kindle 2 International. Rather than ordering ready-made USB-RS232-TTL converter I’ve decided to have some fun with little hardware project and create one myself.

Unfortunately I’ve short-circuited something within Kindle when connecting wires to the serial console and pretty much bricked the unit. This is yet another reminder to people that you shouldn’t try to hack something like Kindle unless you are willing to brick it.

Right now I’m waiting for the next specimen to arrive as I’m determined to make Unicode Font Hack to work and make International Kindle truly international.

I bricked one Kindle a while back when I was creating the original Unicode Font Hack and succeeded on the second attempt. I hope that with international Kindle this will also be the case…

Kindle for PC Application coming soon

Today, during the Windows 7 launch event, Amazon and Microsoft demonstrated “Kindle For PC”, desktop eBook reader application that will run on Windows XP/Vista/7. This application allows anyone with a PC and Internet connection to shop in Amazon eBook store that currently has 360,000+ books. The software is free to download and offers all of the functionality of Amazon Kindle device minus slow eInk refresh rate and lack of color, plus all of the multi-touch coolness of Windows 7 (Microsoft’s latest operating system). It can download books, synchronize reading positions, notes and bookmarks. In one of the videos it looked like the cover was in color and of better image quality than what is sent to Kindle devices over Whispernet.

I wonder if magazine and newspaper subscriptions would be available…

Here are several hands on videos about the application:

As competition is heating up in the eReader/eBook market, Amazon and other companies are trying every possible way to stay competitive. I believe that Amazon could have released this app years ago. After all there is no rocket science in it – it’s just a eBook reader. Something that existed for years by companies such as Microsoft, Sony, B&N. However this didn’t happen. Partially because it was hard to convince publishers to put their valuable content on something as easily hackable as home PC, but mostly because there was little point to it. Computer screens are not meant for book reading. However this holiday season anything goes if it helps you stay competitive.

I don’t think that people would actually read a lot on this desktop app, even with modern tablets and netbooks. However the app will act as free advertising. People will download it, get a couple of books. They might like the concept of eBook and Amazon book store but not reading from the computer screen in particular. Some of them will end up buying a Kindle, especially since you can now get one as cheap as $149.00.

For me personally, I don’t see much use for PC eReader other than finding relevant data and I want to reference or quote quickly. It would be nice if the app supported at least limited amount of copy-paste (unlike the Sony app) but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The app is due to be released in November. Apple Mac OS version will follow several months later.

With eBooks finding their way from dedicated reading devices to multipurpose computers, the next logical step would be an online eBook reader. And I bet at least one company will come up with one in 2010.

Meanwhile this move is almost free for Amazon since desktop application doesn’t incur high cost of wireless access (users have to provide the Internet) which is substantial for Amazon. It also signifies an alliance between Amazon and Microsoft and it’s pretty obvious that they are allied against Google. Since Microsoft is trying to compete with Google in web search for years and Google is about enter eBook business.

BTW I’ve just installed Windows 7 myself and it does totally rock!

International Kindle Price Drop

Only 3 days after the release of Kindle 2 International, Amazon has slashed $20.00 off the price. If you purchased it for $279.00 you will get a refund along with the following email:

Hello,

Good news! Due to strong customer demand for our newest Kindle with U.S. and international wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6″ Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of the Kindle you just purchased from $279 down to $259. You don’t need to do anything to get the lower price–we are automatically issuing you a $20 refund. This refund should be processed in the next few days and will appear as a credit on your next billing statement.

We’ll also send you a follow-up e-mail to confirm the refund once it has been completed.
We hope you enjoy your new Kindle. Please send us your feedback at: [email protected]

US version of Kindle is now available only as refurbished merchandise.

Wikipedia works on International Kindles in the UK

Kindle UK Wikipedia

Kindle UK Wikipedia

One of the blog subscribers, Ilya who has recently purchased an Kindle 2 International in the UK has confirmed that despite the Amazon statement that experimental browser and blog subscriptions don’t work in the UK, Wikipedia access actually works. However pictures do not load and all other websites are blocked.
Since Amazon has announced that web browsing will not be available worldwide it was natural to assume that Wikipedia access will not work either. It looks like Amazon is treating Wikipedia as a separate feature.
It would be interesting to hear from K2i owners in other countries about their Wikipedia experience. Either if it works or it doesn’t – please drop a comment.

Update: It has been confirmed by several people that pictures in wikipedia now load.

International Kindle 2 First Impressions

FedEx has just delivered my Kindle 2 International. On the exterior it looks exactly the same as Kindle 2 with US wireless. However there seem to be some changes in the software. First of all the device reports software version to be 2.2 (375490138). What is interesting is that this version can’t be found on Amazon Kindle source code web-page.

Kindle 2 International 2.2

Kindle 2 International 2.2

Poking around the settings and easter eggs I found that 411 and 611 pages look different.

I’ve also found a new hidden setting: if you type 311 while on the settings page you will be able to manually switch wireless networks just like on any other GSM phone.

Kindle 2 International Choosing GSM network

Kindle 2 International Choosing GSM network

Kindle 2 International seems to have several new screensaver images.

I can confirm that despite the change in software number the fonts are still not Unicode. Unicode font hack for US Kindle 2 doesn’t install on the international version. At first it wouldn’t even recognize the update. I’ve played around with Igor’s script and was able to tweak it to produce .BIN files that are recognized as updates by Kindle. However these updates still fail during the installation. Right now I’m trying to figure out why that is and how to fix it. If anyone would like to beat me to it – the updated version of Igor’s script can be downloaded here: kindle_update_tool. You’ll need to have Python installed in order to run it. To build update packages for Kindle 2.2 you need to use -k4 switch. Good luck! Let me know if you figure it out.

Kindle International starts shipping today! Yay!

Kindle International starts shipping out today! Yay! Hopefully I”ll get mine tomorrow.

Kindle International Coverage Update Before Launch

I’ve been keeping track of the number of books that is available to every country with the intent of publishing the delta like the previous one. However in the last couple of days updates were so many that it doesn’t make sense to highlight any country in particular. Pretty much every since one has gotten 10..80K extra books between the announcement of international Kindle release and the actual ship date which is today. The few countries that didn’t see any change were the ones who started with high book counts to begin with (more than 280,000).

After the release of international Kindle was announced, several people have complained that many interesting books were not available to their non-US Amazon accounts. Hopefully these changes should at least partially solve this problem.

If you have previously tried to buy a Kindle book and couldn’t because of geographical restrictions, you try it now and drop a comment here whether it worked on not.

Country Ship date Announce date Change
Aland Islands 240,000 160,000 80,000
Albania 250,000 170,000 80,000
American Samoa 260,000 180,000 80,000
Andorra 250,000 170,000 80,000
Angola 250,000 170,000 80,000
Anguilla 290,000 280,000 10,000
Antigua and Barbuda 290,000 290,000 -
Armenia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Aruba 300,000 290,000 10,000
Australia 280,000 280,000 -
Austria 290,000 280,000 10,000
Bahamas 290,000 290,000 -
Barbados 290,000 290,000 -
Belarus 250,000 170,000 80,000
Belgium 290,000 280,000 10,000
Belize 250,000 170,000 80,000
Benin 250,000 170,000 80,000
Bermuda 250,000 170,000 80,000
Bhutan 250,000 170,000 80,000
Bolivia 260,000 180,000 80,000
Bosnia and Herzegovina 250,000 170,000 80,000
Botswana 250,000 170,000 80,000
Brazil 300,000 290,000 10,000
Bulgaria 250,000 170,000 80,000
Burundi 250,000 170,000 80,000
Cambodia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Cape Verde 250,000 170,000 80,000
Cayman Islands 290,000 290,000 -
Central African Republic 250,000 170,000 80,000
Colombia 300,000 290,000 10,000
Congo 250,000 170,000 80,000
Cook Islands 250,000 170,000 80,000
Costa Rica 300,000 290,000 10,000
Cote d’Ivoire 240,000 170,000 70,000
Croatia 290,000 280,000 10,000
Cyprus 290,000 280,000 10,000
Czech Republic 290,000 280,000 10,000
Democratic Republic of the Congo 250,000 170,000 80,000
Denmark 290,000 280,000 10,000
Dominica 250,000 170,000 80,000
Dominican Republic 300,000 290,000 10,000
Ecuador 260,000 180,000 80,000
El Salvador 260,000 180,000 80,000
Equatorial Guinea 250,000 170,000 80,000
Estonia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Ethiopia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Falkland Islands 250,000 170,000 80,000
Faroe Islands 250,000 170,000 80,000
Federated States of Micronesia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Fiji 240,000 160,000 80,000
Finland 290,000 280,000 10,000
France 290,000 280,000 10,000
French Guiana 260,000 180,000 80,000
French Polynesia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Gabon 250,000 170,000 80,000
Georgia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Germany 290,000 280,000 10,000
Ghana 240,000 160,000 80,000
Gibraltar 250,000 170,000 80,000
Greece 290,000 280,000 10,000
Greenland 260,000 180,000 80,000
Grenada 290,000 290,000 -
Guadeloupe 290,000 290,000 -
Guam 300,000 290,000 10,000
Guatemala 260,000 180,000 80,000
Guernsey 240,000 160,000 80,000
Guinea-Bissau 250,000 170,000 80,000
Guyana 300,000 290,000 10,000
Haiti 260,000 180,000 80,000
Holy See 250,000 170,000 80,000
Honduras 260,000 180,000 80,000
Hong Kong 290,000 280,000 10,000
Hungary 290,000 280,000 10,000
Iceland 290,000 280,000 10,000
India 280,000 270,000 10,000
Ireland 280,000 280,000 -
Italy 290,000 280,000 10,000
Jamaica 300,000 290,000 10,000
Japan 290,000 280,000 10,000
Jersey 240,000 160,000 80,000
Kenya 250,000 170,000 80,000
Kiribati 250,000 170,000 80,000
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 250,000 170,000 80,000
Latvia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Lesotho 250,000 170,000 80,000
Liberia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Liechtenstein 250,000 170,000 80,000
Lithuania 250,000 170,000 80,000
Luxembourg 290,000 280,000 10,000
Macao 250,000 170,000 80,000
Macedonia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Madagascar 250,000 170,000 80,000
Malawi 250,000 170,000 80,000
Malta 250,000 170,000 80,000
Marshall Islands 250,000 170,000 80,000
Martinique 300,000 290,000 10,000
Mauritius 250,000 170,000 80,000
Mayotte 250,000 170,000 80,000
Mexico 290,000 290,000 -
Moldova 250,000 170,000 80,000
Monaco 250,000 170,000 80,000
Mongolia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Montenegro 250,000 170,000 80,000
Montserrat 250,000 170,000 80,000
Mozambique 250,000 170,000 80,000
Myanmar 240,000 160,000 80,000
Namibia 240,000 160,000 80,000
Nauru 250,000 170,000 80,000
Nepal 250,000 170,000 80,000
Netherlands 290,000 290,000 -
Netherlands Antilles 300,000 280,000 20,000
New Caledonia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Nicaragua 260,000 180,000 80,000
Niue 250,000 170,000 80,000
Norfolk Island 240,000 170,000 70,000
Northern Mariana Islands 260,000 180,000 80,000
Norway 290,000 280,000 10,000
Palau 250,000 170,000 80,000
Panama 260,000 180,000 80,000
Papua New Guinea 250,000 170,000 80,000
Paraguay 260,000 180,000 80,000
Peru 300,000 290,000 10,000
Philippines 290,000 290,000 -
Poland 290,000 280,000 10,000
Portugal 290,000 280,000 10,000
Puerto Rico 260,000 180,000 80,000
Reunion 250,000 170,000 80,000
Romania 250,000 170,000 80,000
Russia 290,000 280,000 10,000
Rwanda 250,000 170,000 80,000
Saint Kitts and Nevis 250,000 170,000 80,000
Saint Lucia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 250,000 170,000 80,000
Samoa 250,000 170,000 80,000
San Marino 250,000 170,000 80,000
Sao Tome and Principe 250,000 170,000 80,000
Serbia 240,000 170,000 70,000
Seychelles 250,000 170,000 80,000
Slovakia 240,000 170,000 70,000
Slovenia 250,000 170,000 80,000
Solomon Islands 250,000 170,000 80,000
South Africa 240,000 160,000 80,000
Spain 290,000 280,000 10,000
Sri Lanka 250,000 170,000 80,000
Suriname 260,000 180,000 80,000
Swaziland 250,000 170,000 80,000
Sweden 290,000 280,000 10,000
Switzerland 290,000 280,000 10,000
Taiwan 290,000 280,000 10,000
Tanzania 250,000 170,000 80,000
Timor-Leste 250,000 170,000 80,000
Togo 250,000 170,000 80,000
Tonga 250,000 170,000 80,000
Trinidad and Tobago 300,000 290,000 10,000
Turks and Caicos Islands 260,000 180,000 80,000
Tuvalu 250,000 170,000 80,000
Uganda 250,000 170,000 80,000
Ukraine 250,000 170,000 80,000
United Kingdom 280,000 280,000 -
Uruguay 260,000 180,000 80,000
Vanuatu 250,000 170,000 80,000
Venezuela 260,000 180,000 80,000
Viet Nam 290,000 280,000 10,000
Virgin Islands, British 290,000 280,000 10,000
Virgin Islands, U.S. 260,000 180,000 80,000
Wallis and Futuna 250,000 170,000 80,000
Zambia 240,000 160,000 80,000
Zimbabwe 240,000 160,000 80,000

….

Refurbished Kindle DX is back in stock

Amazon Kindle DX

Amazon Kindle DX

Refurbished Kindle DX is once again available for purchase at Amazon. It comes with the same 1 year warranty as the new Kindle DX but at $90.00 discount (18.4%).

Kindle International Coverage Update

Amazon Kindle 2Since I published the Kindle International Coverage table it already became outdated as Amazon has made roughly 10,000 books available to several countries. I have updated and table now. I’ll make another check on the 19th when Kindle 2 international ships and then I’ll post updates on a weekly basis.

Here is the summary of changes:

  • Bolivia from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Botswana from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Bouvet Island from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Ecuador from 180,000 to 190,000
  • El Salvador from 180,000 to 190,000
  • French Guiana from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Greenland from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Guatemala from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Haiti from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Honduras from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Jamaica from 290,000 to 300,000
  • Mayotte from 170,000 to 180,000
  • New Caledonia from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Nicaragua from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Northern Mariana Islands from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Palau from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Panama from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Papua New Guinea from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Paraguay from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Reunion from 170,000 to 180,000
  • Suriname from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Trinidad and Tobago from 290,000 to 300,000
  • Uruguay from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Venezuela from 180,000 to 190,000
  • Wallis and Futuna from 170,000 to 180,000

When Kindle International was originally annouced several many people complained that book selection that is available outside of the US is inferior to what is available to American customers. I guess Amazon is well aware of the problem and are working on negotiating more deals with local and international publishers to expand the eBook selection.

BlogKindle translation

Since release of international Kindle 2 was announced this blog started getting significant number of visitors from outside of US. I decided that it would be nice to deliver the blog in many languages. However I’m only fluent in two and don’t have the resources to translate it manually to many languages that my visitors speak. I’ll have to go with automated translation for the time being.

I’ve enabled it for the following languages (based on the countries visitors come from):

You can also find the translation control at the bottom of left side-bar. If your language is not among these – drop me a comment. If I get enough requests I’ll add more languages.

The reason I didn’t enable them all is because the translation quality is rather poor. However this is something that you can help me with. The translation plugin that I use supports wiki-style modification of the translated pages. However in order to prevent spam and vandalism I don’t want to open editing to the entire world. If you speak one of the listed languages and would like to correct the automated translation now and then, I can email you login credentials for the translation editor.

Enjoy!

Kindle International Coverage

Kindle International Coverage Map

Kindle International Coverage Map

Even before Kindle International (K2i) has shipped, Amazon has already made changes to features that are available (browser and blogs support was removed for the only 3 countries that were going to have it besides the US: Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong) but then making the browser available again but not blogs, so the table that I’ve published in the original post became outdated. Since a lot of people found that table useful, I’ve rearranged it a bit, updated with the most recent data and published it as a Kindle International Coverage Map page. I’ll keep updating this page as the situation changes.

If you happen to find any errors or inconsistencies in that table – let me know and I’ll fix them.

Refurbished Kindle DX is out of stock

I’ve just noticed that refurbished Kindle DX is currently out of stock. You can still purchase the new one for $489.00. I”ll notify you when this changes.

International Kindle may come to Canada and New Zealand soon

No doubt many Canadians New Zealanders were greatly disappointed by the fact that International Kindle will not ship to their countries today. However not all hope is lost. According to publications by New Zealand PCWorld and The Globe and Mail, Amazon is currently involved in intensive talks with Vodafone regarding the wireless access in NZ and with three different wireless phone companies in Canada.

It looks like Amazon decided to postpone the launch rather than ship devices without wireless access to these markets. I guess this was done to avoid negative initial reviews that would hurt sales in the long run. After all, without the wireless access book buying experience for Kindle becomes even more cumbersome process that with Sony readers.

Browser And Blogs Update for Mexico, Hong Kong and Japan

It looks like Amazon has updated the feature list for the International Kindle.

Basic Web (experimental web browser) and blog subscriptions are not longer available in Mexico, Hong Kong and Japan. So for now this feature is going to be exclusive to US customers.

Update: It looks like Amazon has changed their mind again – browser support is back for these countries but not blogs.

The Kindle as a Guilty Pleasure for Print Lovers

The Kindle, like all eReaders, is seen by many as a radical departure from traditional reading.  The main reason why you aren’t surrounded by Kindles whenever you step into a coffee shop is simple: a lot of people like the look and feel of a book.  They are wary of any gadget that claims to replace it with a digital imitation.

It’s from this point of view that Jane Isay, a former editor and lover of physical books, writes a humorous confession to loving the Kindle.  The post demonstrates a simple truth that Kindle owners already know: if you love to read you’ll love to use the Kindle.  Even if you are a print die-hard, reading on the Kindle still gives you the chance to enjoy the act of reading, with the added convenience of Whispernet and instant downloads.

Isay’s post does make one good point however: how will devices like the Kindle affect independent retailers?  Isay alternates between buying eBooks from Amazon and buying physical books from small, independent bookstores.  Eventually, people are going to be wary about the digital book industry being monopolized by a select few corporations.  This is another reason why I think Amazon will eventually need to open their device to other formats.  A move to many independent digital stores is probably inevitable, where all they have in common is a shared format.

Barnes & Noble e-Reader release possible in November

While release of international Kindle 2 may have been the biggest move by Amazon since Kindle was originally released on the November 19, 2007, it is going to face some serious competition this holiday season. According to Wall Street Journal, Barnes and Noble may start selling their own device as early as November.

The device will have:

  • 6 inch grayscale E-Ink screen
  • Touchscreen interface with virtual keyboard
  • 3G Wireless via AT&T to download eBooks from Barnes & Noble store

Amtek International Co filed the request for FCC approval on behalf of Barnes & Noble and the approval was given in September.

To me the Barnes&Noble device seems like Sony PRS-600 but with 3G wireless. And this just might make a huge difference and make the device competitive. I’ve been playing around with my PRS-600 and so far found touchscreen to be a mixed blessing. It’s hard to tell how it will be with B&N reader as it depends on the implementation. However with 3G wireless unless B&N will totally blow it will be a device comparable to Kindle. With iRex and Plastic Logic readers also compatible with their store consumers will have more choice in hardware and this can be an advantage for B&N as eBook vendor.

On the other hand Amazon is still several steps ahead of the competition with the recent international release of Kindle 2 as well as established hi-end Kindle DX product line.

It will be an interesting holiday season for eBook industry. Depending on how it plays out for all the companies involved it may shape the future of the whole market for the years to come.

I was about to publish this post when I came by a peculiar rumor leak at gizmodo: they claim that Barnes&Noble eReader will run Google’s Android OS. Personally I find it highly unlikely though definitely intriguing.

International Kindle FAQ

My post about international release of Kindle received more attention than any other post on this blog so far. A lot of readers are asking questions so I’m going to answer these in this FAQ to the best of my ability. Some of the answers are going to be guestimates since I haven’t received my World-ready version of Kindle 2 yet. I’ll keep adding and changing content here as I learn together with you.

What countries is Kindle available to?

As of October 6th, 2009 Amazon has revealed international version of Kindle 2 eBook reader that officially ships to 169 countries. However you should be aware that some features like wireless, experimental web-browser, blog subscriptions (including this one) are not available everywhere. Number of books that you can buy is also different for every country. Complete list of countries, book counts and other details can be found here.

Why isn’t Kindle available in my country? When it will become available?

Although I can’t know for sure since I don’t work for Amazon and never had, from my experience with eBook industry I can guess that it may be related to one of the following:

  • Amazon didn’t rally enough publishers in a particular country so book selection would have been too small.
  • Some provision of copyright law prevents Amazon from offering Kindle in a particular country.

I’m sure that there are no political/religious/etc reasons behind these limitations. Amazon is in the business of making money. And you can’t make money by turning down paying customers. That’s why I’m sure that they are making efforts to overcome these limitations and ship Kindle worldwide.

But I really want to buy a Kindle now. What should I do?

There is a way to buy Kindle when you are outside US. It has been known and used long before Kindle became internationally available. As of recently you will also need to use proxy server, VPN or similar solution to overcome geographical restrictions.

I have already used gift-cards to purchase Kindle and use it outside of the US. Can I re-register it to my “non-US” account now?

I absolutely see no reason why you can’t. You can de-register your Kindle from your “fake US” account, and then register it with your local account. The downside is that you will loose the ability to download books that you’ve purchased from your “fake US” account. So before de-registering you should download these books to your computer make a secure backup copy. It may be a good idea to use one of the secure online backup services. You can then copy these books to your re-registered Kindle and you should still be able to read them.

Why does the coverage map show that Whispernet will work in my country but I still can’t buy Kindle?

Wireless coverage merely indicates where Kindle wireless will work. This only depends on roaming agreements AT&T has with wireless operators around the globe. However more is needed for Amazon to sell Kindles in particular country as was stated above.

Kindle International Coverage Map

Kindle International Coverage Map

Where can I find Whilspernet coverage map?

You can view the large map by clicking on the small map image to the right. Or you can access the interactive map here.

Is international Kindle DX available for purchase?

Currently only international version of Kindle 2 was released. However there are some rumors and speculations that international Kindle DX will be released next year.

What network does international Kindle use for wireless connectivity?

International version of Kindle 2 uses AT&T 3G GSM network in the USA. Outside of US it uses 3G GSM wireless networks of AT&T roaming partners.

Can I use WiFi with Kindle?

No. Not directly at least. You can download books and magazines to your PC via. Amazon.com website using WiFi Internet connection and then transfer them to Kindle using USB connection.

Does international version of Kindle support non-Latin Unicode characters?

Although I can’t tell for sure until my international Kindle 2 arrives, there is nothing on Amazon website that indicates any changes compared to the US version of Kindle. You can still use Kindle Unicode Font Hack to expand the character range Kindle can display.

Is it possible to upgrade my US Kindle to international version? Will firmware update solve the problem?

No. GSM and CDMA networks require different hardware. This hardware is not easy to replace and doing so will surely void your Kindle warranty. Even if you were able to replace the hardware, you would still need to make lots of software changes to make it work. Nobody was able to do this as far as I know.

What is the story with international book download surcharge of $1.99? Who will pay it? Where? When?

International data roaming is expensive. When I visit Canada with my US iPhone, I’m offered a rate of $15.35 per megabyte for data roaming. Average book is at least 300 kilobytes. This would translate to around $5.00 additional cost per book. So Amazon’s surcharge of $1.99 actually looks like a bargain compared to that.

There seems to be a lot of confusion around who is going to be charged this amount and when. My understanding is that only customers with US shipping address would be charged extra $1.99 per book when travelling abroad. Customers from all other countries are never charged anything above the actual list price of the book no matter where they download it. However this is reflected in the book price which is $2.00 higher than for US customers.

Why Australian Kindle is sold without AC power adapter for charging when customers in all other countries get one?

No idea. My guess is that it has something to do with safety regulations in Australia.

Why blog subscription and experimental web-browser are turned off for my country?

Wireless data costs. You can easily use 1 megabyte of traffic just by viewing several Wikipedia pages. In fact homepage of this blog would amount to roughly one megabyte of data if you factor in all of the images. Since Amazon doesn’t own wireless networks it has to pay for all this data. It would be too expensive for them as profits from book sales would not cover it.

My guess is that Amazon was able to strike some kind of special deal with wireless operators in Hong Kong, Mexico and Japan to make this work.

Why do newspapers and magazines come without pictures outside of US?

Same reason – wireless data costs. Images would increase the amount of data that needs to be transferred causing Amazon to loose money on subscriptions. Hopefully in the future when international wireless data becomes cheaper this should no longer be an issue.

Other questions or corrections.

Let me know if there are other questions that you believe should be covered in this FAQ. If you believe that some data became outdated or inaccurate – drop me a comment and I’ll what I can do.

International Kindle DX? Possibly in 2010

Amazon Kindle DX

Amazon Kindle DX

While browsing the announcements about Kindle 2 international launch I’ve stumbled upon a post on electricpig.co.uk in which James Holland claims that Amazon UK spokesman Ben Howes telling that “we (Amazon) expect to add a Kindle DX family member with international roaming sometime next year.

This is interesting piece of news, although you can hardly call it surprising since there is obviously demand for such a device, “sometime next year” is a rather wide period of time (I’m sure that Amazon will release something and Kindle DX seems logical), also there is little that is preventing Amazon from releasing such a device:

  • Hardware and software changes are rather trivial and low cost.
  • Amazon managed to untangle the horrible mess called international copyright law and publishing rights and implement geographical restrictions for books based on country and still come up with decent number of books for most of the 169 countries to which Kindle 2 will start shipping on October 19.
  • They’ve managed to set up wireless connectivity in 100+ countries by taking advantage of AT&T roaming agreements. While data prices are substantial and infer usage restrictions (international download surcharge, no web-browsing, etc) but it works for Kindle 2 and it will work for Kindle DX
  • Amazon had distribution and logistics set up and figured out long before Kindle 1 was released.

So you would ask why not release it now? There are several possible reasons and most likely all of them play a role to a different degree each:

  • If Amazon does two releases that are several months apart, they would generate hype twice and benefit from two spikes in sales. If they were to release both devices together I doubt there would have been twice as much hype. I think that Amazon is carefully timing their releases and price drops to maintain maximum possible customer attention to their product in the long run. After all Amazon was selling products made by other companies (some of them quite hyped, like iPod Touch), they know sales volume and how much does it spike after a piece of news and at what pace it then drops. And it would make total sense for them to use this knowledge to their advantage.
  • It’s easier and cheaper to test new technology (3G GSM modem integration) on one device and then apply your experience to integrating this technology into another device. It’s also easier to retool one production line than two. If you consider the fact that Kindle DX was sold out for almost a month this summer it makes sense that Amazon would like to avoid disruptions in production if they can.
  • Perhaps international Kindle DX will include additional features like better PDF support, touchscreen or some other innovations. These take time to develop. Taking a pause would also let Amazon see how Sony touchscreen eReaders would fare and make a decision on whether to go down that road or not.
  • If you look in the upper left corner of BlogKindle.com you will see that Amazon already sells 6 Kindle devices, all with different price points. Adding another one might confuse customers too much and disrupt the buying process. So Amazon would likely phase out US version of Kindle 2, merging it with refurbished Kindle 2. Then they would have 6 months before they would need to worry about reselling refurbished international Kindles.

If I were to guess when would Amazon roll out international Kindle DX I would say: “not for another 4 months” since this seems to be the pace they’ve set this year and considering that Amazon just did their “holiday season release” and it would make little sense to dump something on the unsuspecting customers amid holidays.

Let’s wait and see…

International release of Kindle 2!

Kindle International Coverage Map

Kindle International Coverage Map

Well, my speculations actually came true and even sooner and on a much larger scale than I have expected: Kindle 2 World version is available for pre-orders and will start shipping on Monday, October 19. Generally, International version of Kindle 2 is identical to the one that was released in February, except that it uses AT&T 3G network for book downloads and Internet connectivity in the US and roaming partner networks in more than 100 countries outside of the USA. I’ve glued together a full coverage map and a a table that lists different features and restrictions that apply to different countries.

Kindle is currently not available in the following countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chad, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Yes, unfortunately Kindle is not available in Canada yet but Amazon promises to fix this as soon as possible. They wouldn’t want to miss such lucrative market after all.

Residents of other 169 countries can buy the international version of Kindle here.

For each country features like whispernet and browser availability vary. In general the picture currently looks like this:

Country Wireless Duty included in checkout price Typical book price Browser and blogs Books under $5.99 Total books
Aland Islands No No $11.99 No 25,000 160,000
Albania Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
American Samoa No No $11.99 No 45,000 180,000
Andorra No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Angola No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Anguilla Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Antigua and Barbuda Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Armenia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Aruba Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Australia Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Austria Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Bahamas Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Barbados Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Belarus No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Belgium Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Belize No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Benin No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Bermuda Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Bhutan No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Bolivia Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Bosnia and Herzegovina No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Botswana No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Brazil Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Bulgaria Yes! No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 35,000 170,000
Burundi No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Cambodia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Cape Verde No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Cayman Islands Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Central African Republic No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Colombia Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Comoros No No $11.99 No 35,000 0
Congo No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Cook Islands No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Costa Rica No No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Cote d’Ivoire No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Croatia Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Cyprus No No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Czech Republic Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Democratic Republic of the Congo No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Denmark Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Dominica Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Dominican Republic Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Ecuador Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
El Salvador Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Equatorial Guinea No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Estonia No No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Ethiopia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Falkland Islands No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Faroe Islands No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Federated States of Micronesia No No $11.99 No 45,000 170,000
Fiji No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Finland No Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
France Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
French Guiana No No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
French Polynesia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Gabon Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Georgia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Germany Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Ghana No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Gibraltar No No $11.99 No 25,000 170,000
Greece Yes! No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Greenland No No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Grenada Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Guadeloupe No No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Guam Yes! No $11.99 No 130,000 290,000
Guatemala Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Guernsey No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Guinea-Bissau No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Guyana Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Haiti Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Holy See No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Honduras Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Hong Kong Yes! Yes! $11.99 Yes! 100,000 280,000
Hungary Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 65,000 280,000
Iceland Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
India Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 270,000
Ireland Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Italy Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Jamaica Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Japan Yes! Yes! $11.99 Yes! 100,000 280,000
Jersey No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Kenya Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Kiribati No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Lao People’s Democratic Republic No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Latvia No No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Lesotho No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Liberia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Liechtenstein Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Lithuania No No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Luxembourg Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Macao Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Macedonia Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Madagascar No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Malawi No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Malta No No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Marshall Islands No No $11.99 No 45,000 170,000
Martinique No No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Mauritius No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Mayotte No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Mexico Yes! Yes! $11.99 Yes! 100,000 290,000
Moldova No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Monaco No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Mongolia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Montenegro Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Montserrat Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Mozambique No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Myanmar No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Namibia No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Nauru No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Nepal No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Netherlands Antilles No No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Netherlands Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
New Caledonia No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Nicaragua Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Niue No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Norfolk Island No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Northern Mariana Islands No No $11.99 No 45,000 180,000
Norway Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Palau No No $11.99 No 45,000 170,000
Panama Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Papua New Guinea No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Paraguay Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Peru Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Philippines Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Poland Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Portugal Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Puerto Rico Yes! No $11.99 No 45,000 180,000
Reunion No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Romania Yes! No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Russia Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Rwanda No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Saint Kitts and Nevis Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Saint Lucia Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Samoa No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
San Marino No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Sao Tome and Principe No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Serbia Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Seychelles No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Slovakia Yes! No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Slovenia Yes! No $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 25,000 170,000
Solomon Islands No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
South Africa Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Spain Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Sri Lanka No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Suriname Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Swaziland No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Sweden Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Switzerland Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Taiwan Yes! Yes! $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Tanzania Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Timor-Leste No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Togo No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Tonga No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Trinidad and Tobago Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 290,000
Turks and Caicos Islands Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Tuvalu No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Uganda No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Ukraine Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
United Kingdom Yes! Yes! $11.99..$13.99 (incl. VAT) No 70,000 280,000
Uruguay Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Vanuatu No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Venezuela Yes! No $11.99 No 35,000 180,000
Viet Nam No No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Virgin Islands, British Yes! No $11.99 No 100,000 280,000
Virgin Islands, U.S. Yes! No $11.99 No 45,000 180,000
Wallis and Futuna No No $11.99 No 35,000 170,000
Zambia No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000
Zimbabwe No No $11.99 No 35,000 160,000

Amazon Kindle 2So wireless is available in 100 countries, however browser and blog subscription only work in these 3:  Hong Kong, Japan and Mexico.

EU countries have slightly higher typical book price because it includes VAT.

If you read this page on Amazon.com there is little fine-print about international use of Kindle:

Kindle (U.S. & International Wireless) customers from the United States can travel internationally and still get books in less than 60 seconds. Customers have the option to wirelessly download books, periodicals and personal documents via Whispernet for a fee or transfer files from their computer for free.

  • International Book Service: Download books from your Kindle’s Archived Items or the Kindle store via Whispernet for $1.99 per book.
  • International Subscription Service: Receive all of your newspaper, magazine, and blog subscription content via Whispernet for a weekly fee of $4.99.
  • International Current Issue Service: Download individual issues of newspapers and magazines from your Kindle’s Archived Items or the Kindle store via Whispernet for $1.99 per issue.
  • International Personal Document Service: Transfer personal documents to your Kindle via Whispernet for $.99 per megabyte (rounded up to the next whole megabyte). For more information about transferring personal files to your Kindle, see the Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle Help page.

It took a lot of effort to put this table together so if you feel it’s a helpful and intereseting piece of information – spread the word and link to this post.

In the future I’ll post updates to the table above on a regular basis.

If you end up buying Kindle 2 from outside of US, please drop me a comment to share your experience.

Kindle Price Drop… again!!!

Amazon Kindle 2In June Amazon dropped the price on Kindle 2 by $60.00 only 4 month after it was originally released. Today, 4 month later, Kindle 2 price dropped by another $40.00. You can now purchase brand new K2 for $259.00. So in eight months since the release the price went down $100.00 or nearly 28%

It looks like competition from Sony, Google, Plastic Logic and other players is forcing Amazon to cut prices to stay competitive. In a recent interview Jeff Bezos claimed that Amazon can now cut the price because larger production and sales volume resulted in cost reduction and they are passing some of the savings to the customers.

In case you’ve purchased your Kindle for $299.00 within the last month you can call Amazon Kindle support and ask for a $40.00 refund to match the price drop. Several users have confirmed that Amazon easily gives these out and sometimes they are flexible and will give you a refund even if you have had your device for slightly more than a month.

Amazon geographical restrictions for Kindle Books update

A small update on the issue of Amazon geographical restrictions for Kindle eBooks. Apparently some users are still getting the following message:

We are sorry…
We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Ultrasuft and HotSpot Shield, VPN and similar solutions seem to work. However they are not feasible for all users. I’m investigating the issue in depth.

Update: It’s all made clear with the international release of Kindle. Not all books are available to all countries. Geographical restrictions are here to stay. Though with time most books will be available to all countries IMHO.