Many people simply don’t get eBooks. The concept of wanting to read literature on an electronic device just seems, well, wrong to lovers of the written word, and to a certain degree I agree with them. I can’t imagine myself wanting to read a novel on a computer screen, a mobile phone or portable media player, but a proper eBook is a very different kind of device. In fact it wasn’t until I reviewed the Sony Reader PRS-505 that I fully appreciated the eBook, but once I’d spent some time with one, I was pretty much sold on the concept.
When it comes to eBooks, the Amazon Kindle is probably the most widely known and recognised, which is quite odd when you consider that until now it hasn’t been available outside the US. Finally though, after what seems like an age, the Kindle has been made available to us in the UK, but was it worth the wait?
First I should make it clear that the Kindle, in essence, still isn’t available in the UK, since amazon.co.uk doesn’t sell it. If you want to buy this International version of the Kindle, you need to order it from amazon.com in the US, from whence it shall be shipped to you. This means that you could end up paying duty and VAT on your Kindle if you’re unlucky enough to have your order stopped by customs. So, that $259 price tag could end up being a fair bit higher by the time you actually take delivery.
Of course this also means that you’ll have to pay for your Kindle in US Dollars, but then you’ll need to get used to seeing Dollar transactions on your credit card, because you’ll be buying all your books that way too. You see despite the fact that Kindle books are essentially just digital files, you can’t buy them from Amazon in the UK, instead you’ll have to order from the Kindle store in the US, and that means pricing in US Dollars.
Assuming that you’re not charged too much for USD transactions by your credit card company, the fact that you’re buying from the store in the US shouldn’t be too much of a chore, because once you’ve set your Kindle up, you shouldn’t have to go to the Amazon website very often, if at all. Unlike other eBook readers, the Kindle doesn’t need to connect to a computer in order to have content loaded onto it. Instead, it has a built-in 3G data modem, which means that you can purchase and download anything from the Kindle store whenever, and wherever you want.