Archive for October 7th, 2009

The Kindle has books will now ship international

In case you haven’t heard, the Kindle will dropping prices to $259 and will now be available to international customers for purchase on October 19. Or is it really international?

Logging into the Amazon website will greet you with a special message from Jeff Bezos announcing the price reduction of the Kindle from $299 to $259 and the introduction of an international edition for $279.

I was so excited about the announcement and checked about the availability of the device in my part of the world and I came upon this. I wonder why they couldn’t price the device the same. Then I remembered that Sprint provides the US Whispernet coverage while AT & T will provide the international coverage. Technically the wireless capability of the two is vastly different from one another which results in the difference in price. I just wish they could source out both parts to be equally priced and offer it at the same price. I know it’s just twenty dollars but that’s a lot of money nowadays.

Moving on, Amazon seems a bit vague about the capability and network coverage in my area in their “helpful” guide to the international Kindle.

Assuming it’s still the same device as the current Kindle aside from the hardware of the whispernet, these devices are locked to specific carriers and not user servicable. Meaning if you do buy it for your region outside the US you cannot remove the AT & T sim card I’ll assume to place in your local provider. Which means the cost of sending the book over whispernet to you in an international location will cost the user an additional $1.99.

Is the $1.99 worth it for the Kindle? Well it depends on how many books do you intend on buying? There’s the issue of sales tax, duties and whatnot that greedy governments like the Philippines charge. Yes they tax books here and there was this whole fight about it. It turned out that the tax exemption for books only applied to the large bookstores and not the individual buyer of let’s say Amazon. To top it off, they will make you go through the arduous of filling out the forms and sending the forms to the appropriate government instutution just to get you tax refund.

So yes, in my opinion the $1.99 is worth paying just to avoid the troubles when claiming your books, you’ll have the instant gratification of having the book in minutes from almost anywhere, and to keep the government paws off your hard earned money when buying books that you want.

I love what the Kindle offers and I’m currently enjoying that through my iPod via the Kindle app from the iTunes App Store. I currently have five books on it and it has served me well. Sure the screen is a bit tiny for reading but it does the job for me at the moment.

Will I get the Kindle? Yes. But not until the price goes to $199 for the international edition. I think that is the sweet spot for many in buying the Kindle. Unless everyone is waiting for Apple to jump into the fray with their own tablet next year, then that’s something else entirely.