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Amazon Kindle International Edition - Amazon Kindle International Edition

By Riyad Emeran



Our Score:


To put the price issue into perspective though, I see the same thing in the music market. Often when I'm browsing CDs online, the physical CD is actually cheaper than the MP3 download, despite the fact that you can buy the CD and then rip it to your MP3 player anyway!

The Kindle model resembles digital music in another respect too, or at least Apple's original incarnation of digital music. You see if you buy a Kindle, you will only be able to read books purchased from Amazon, despite the fact that there is a plethora of free eBook content out there. Of course, this is the whole point - the Kindle is basically a seeding device for Amazon's Kindle store, in much the same way that the iPod was a seeding device for the iTunes store.

You can read PDF files on the Kindle with varying degrees of success, but you're going to have to load them from your PC via the USB connector. You can email documents to your Kindle, but you'll be charged a fee for the data transfer, so doing things the old fashioned way (with a cable) is preferable. That said, there aren't too many PDFs that I'd be desperate to read on an eBook anyway.

There's no denying that the Kindle hardware is very good indeed, and while the 6in screen may not be as large as that seen on the Sony readers, it's still a beauty. Text looks razor sharp, and there's no hint of reflection no matter what the lighting conditions. Also, images look truly superb, which makes the lack of illustrations in newspapers and magazines all the more lamentable.

The keypad beneath the screen makes searching for books on the Kindle store a breeze. It also lends itself well to typing in URLs on the built-in web browser, or at least it would if that service was available in the UK. Unfortunately, despite the hardware supporting web browsing, Amazon has disabled the service outside of the US - another attempt to keep down data costs, no doubt.

Another reminder that you're getting American hardware is the US power adapter that comes in the box - it's a two prong affair that won't work in the UK without a plug adapter. That said, it's a USB adapter, so you can simply plug the supplied USB cable into your computer or any UK USB adapter that you have handy.

The Kindle comes with about 1.4GB of user accessible internal storage for your library of books, magazines and newspapers. According to Amazon, this equates to around 1,500 books, which is a decent amount of words by anyone's standards. Even so, I still would have liked to have seen a memory card slot on the Kindle, especially since memory cards are so cheap these days.


November 9, 2009, 7:04 am

I'm tempted to say 'what a waste of money'...

Hamish Campbell

November 9, 2009, 1:55 pm

They really do take the mickey with those prices. Has there ever been even an attempted explantation/excuse/justification made for them?


November 9, 2009, 4:05 pm

The clincher against this for me is the tie into Amazon. OK, I may buy most of my books from Amazon, but I want the choice, & without that forget it.

Some specialist books may not be available from them.

Think student with many expensive text books to cart about. The weight saving would be great but those sort of books will not be available.

Likewise (for me) specialist bird books.

This might be for others but still not for me yet.


November 9, 2009, 4:15 pm

It's more of a joke than an actual product. Why would anyone consider it?


November 9, 2009, 4:23 pm

I understood from the website that the 3G download comes with a roaming charge also

Doug Ellison

November 9, 2009, 4:41 pm

The books are just too expensive. Not a bit too expensive - twice, three times, four times what I would find acceptable. NEVER should an Ebook be more expensive than I can go and buy a real book for. Until those prices drop hugely, I'm not interested in any E-book tied into a supplier like Amazon.


November 9, 2009, 4:51 pm

I am glad that I have a PRS-505.


November 9, 2009, 5:20 pm

I was actually quite conflicted when scoring the Kindle. I wanted to score it lower, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that the wireless delivery is pretty impressive, and that nothing else is doing that – yet. Also, the screen is fantastic, despite being smaller than the one on the Sony, and the device itself isn’t really any more expensive than the competition.

I think that Amazon needs to make a proper UK version of the Kindle, start selling books on amazon.co.uk, and allow you to load ePub books onto it. As Mark said, even though he buys most of his books from Amazon, he’d still like to be able to put content from somewhere else on the device. Expandable storage wouldn’t go amiss either.


November 9, 2009, 6:13 pm

Tied into their store = no thanks and no way, even the iPod can load mp3s, the sony even looks better IMO

Nick 15

November 9, 2009, 7:06 pm

Actually you CAN add non-Amazon content to your Kindle. The Kindle accepts .MOBI format documents via the USB cable. Project Gutenberg has the option of downloading ANY of its books in this format for free, plus there are several websites that offer books in the .MOBI format for free. Archive.org has extremely rare books available in EPUB format. Any book in PDF, RTF, LIT or EPUB format is easily converted using Calibre (its free!). I have over 200 books for my Kindle all copyright free and haven't paid a cent for them. If you want the latest books - yes they will cost you money - but thats the same as if you bought paper books. If you are happy to read the classics and rare books you may find the kindle now means you can access the rarest of books in seconds that would have been totally unavailable previously. Calibre will also allow you to create a library so that you can track your eBooks, so if you're running short on space (after 1500 books!) you can move them in and out as you need. Calibre will even give you free access to magazine and newspaper subscriptions AND send them to your Kindle for free - better than Amazons own service.

Sure the KI has some shortcomings content wise but they are very easily circumvented if you do a little research.

the roaming charge only applies to US cuctomers who are outside the US

there is no charge for international customers when they buy or browse. The KI also has free access to Wikipedia - not as good as the free web access US customers get - but still not too shabby either.

Please note as well that Amamzon charges you the VAT and custom duties when you make your order - so there is no hidden or unexpected charge upopn arrival.

The review is good - but I wonder how long did the reviewer actually have the Kindle - because a lot of the criticisms and comments would have been clearly different following some use and investigation.

Mad Iguana

November 9, 2009, 10:19 pm

I wonder, then, is it worthwhile waiting for the Sony Daily Reader, or whatever their equivalent version will be called?


November 10, 2009, 12:14 am

@Nick – Thanks a lot for the information. I guess I was talking mainly about the lack of ePub support, since pretty much every other eBook reader does support it. It’s good to know that you can convert ePub titles using Calibre, but really you should be able to do that without the need for third party software, free or not. When it comes down to it, not supporting ePub content is much like Sony’s refusal to support MP3 on its early digital music players – it simply makes the end user’s life more difficult than it should be.

Also, you’re right that you are charged the relevant customs and VAT charges at point of purchase. However, my point was that the $259 price point isn’t really what you’ll end up paying. And although knowing what the final total would be at point of purchase is good on one hand, it also means that you don’t have the chance of your package slipping through the net undetected :)

Ultimately I stand by my conclusion that Amazon needs to create territory specific Kindle hardware, software and stores to make the device truly attractive for non US consumers.

Nick 15

November 10, 2009, 2:38 pm


I note and agree re epub and territory specific hardware

I do feel that its no more hassle to convert a book than ripping an mp3 from a cd using itunes for an ipod

I'd be concerned that people would buy something and knowingly try to escape customs - isn't that illegal? From personal experience my Kindle arrived in less than 3 days because the customs was paid upfront - had it been required to be collected on delivery it would have delayed the process by 7 days plus added a whole element of uncertainty to the whole experience

Hopefully Amazon are watching all these forums and the next generation of Kindle will address these issues ;-)


November 10, 2009, 5:52 pm

Hi Riyad,

I think it is hard to do a hardware territory specific for every territory specially if they are planning to do real international operation. Now it is supposed to be working in 100 countries.

But I agree that the software and store versions might make more sense, specially if they considered selling books in other languages too.

Regarding the price of books, if you look at best sellers’ new books (and this is the main market area for the Kindle and for other e-readers) you will see that new Dan Brown's is $30 for normal hardback paper book and only $10 for the Kindle copy.

I agree that some of the old books are more expensive than they should. But I am glad that we can get a lot of the classics for free on the internet.

Also the Amazon store has a lot of classics either for free or almost free ( I have bought the complete works for Shakespeare for $1.00 from Amazon).

Gavin Dowd

December 8, 2009, 2:42 pm

I am thinking of getting one of these for the missus. We both currently read ebooks on our iphone/ipod touch and use Stanza to get our ebooks onto them.

Checking on the Stanza website the desktop app has an export to kindle feature which will convert any ebook to Amazons propriatry format which you can then copy over using the usb cable. I have no idea what the quality of the conversion will be like but at least it's do-able perhaps something for you to look into and add to the review ???

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