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Handhelds Books

Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution 145

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-enough-people-in-the-us-read-books dept.
geirnord writes "Previously a US-only device, the Amazon Kindle 2 is now finally available in an international edition. The new device is identical to the Kindle 2, with the exception of Edge and 3G support. That means Whispernet-like functionality over most of the world." Reader pasm notes a report at The Guardian which points out higher ebook prices for international Kindle users. "When asked by the Guardian precisely how much downloads would cost, an Amazon.co.uk spokesman revealed that foreign customers — including those in Britain — would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title." The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.
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Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution

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  • The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

    You don't have enough action points.

  • Except Canada... (Score:2, Informative)

    by robbrit (1408421)
    To the other Canadians out there: we won't be getting it, according to the Globe and Mail:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/why-you-cant-get-the-kindle-in-canada/article1316081/ [theglobeandmail.com]

    I guess I'll have to get it shipped in from Burundi or Sri Lanka instead.
  • Not in Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tridus (79566) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @11:39AM (#29703863) Homepage

    It's available all over the world, but not in Canada.

    According to the Globe and Mail, that is because until next month, there is only one network in Canada capable of carrying it (Rogers). In November, Bell and Telus will also be capable of carrying it.

    We'll see.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/telecom-competition-behind-kindle-delay/article1317633/ [theglobeandmail.com]

    • by V50 (248015)

      Yeah, I was really hoping to get one for Christmas, so this pretty much sucks. If it's not out by December, I'll probably get a Sony eBook reader (yes, Sony is evil, but I like their products, and I have a high tolerance for evil.) or buy a Kindle off eBay.

      For those who know better than I, if I buy an American Kindle off eBay, how well will it work in Canada? Will I be able to buy the ebooks off the American store (with a Canadian CC) and just load them with USB, or will the DRM cause me too many problems?

      B

      • how well will it work in Canada?

        I am not a Canadian, but I wouldn't count on the product working well, given that Amazon suppresses digital content to anybody they don't happen to care for. Australia currently falls into this category; digital copies of books are unavailable where Amazon is perfectly happy to sell you a dead-tree version.

        I happen to prefer the latter, but for some texts, it would be nice to forego the exorbitant US freight costs.
        • by V50 (248015)

          how well will it work in Canada?

          I am not a Canadian, but I wouldn't count on the product working well, given that Amazon suppresses digital content to anybody they don't happen to care for. Australia currently falls into this category; digital copies of books are unavailable where Amazon is perfectly happy to sell you a dead-tree version.

          I happen to prefer the latter, but for some texts, it would be nice to forego the exorbitant US freight costs.

          To be fair, I really doubt it's that they have an axe to grind against Australians. More likely is some annoying conflicts with Australian laws, publishers, organisations and/or cell phone companies. It really wouldn't be a smart decision to not release content to Australia because a dingo ate Bezos' baby or he was molested by a Kangaroo or something.

          Same as Canada. I'm sure they want to have my money, but are either waiting for our (terrible) phone companies to stop sucking, or some conflict with Canadian

          • by st0nes (1120305)
            They are going to be available in South Africa, but how's this--they ship with a US 110v power supply, so to use it you'll have to buy a separate adaptor. Is it the same in the UK or other 220v countries?
      • The American Store might not allow a Canadian CC. I would get the Sony IF a Canadian Kindle isn't out by the time you want one and you might hold off till after Christmas for sales around New Years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's available all over the world, but not in Canada.

      True.

      According to the Globe and Mail, that is because until next month, there is only one network in Canada capable of carrying it (Rogers). In November, Bell and Telus will also be capable of carrying it.

      Typical crappy reporting by the Globe and Mail. It is true that the new "global" kindle is a gsm device, and there is only one gsm operator in Canada (rogers).

      BUT, the US Kindle is NOT A GSM DEVICE. The US Kindle is a CDMA device. There are two CDMA oper

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      To me, it's simply amazing that it take a company like amazon even brings this out, and I cheer them for it. Finally something that caters to the world outside the US (sometime companies pretend it doesn't exist) and more importantly for me, international travelers especially without being raped. If this is like the US version, no monthly fees even!

      OTOH, you can't even take your cell phone with you internationally where some peope would need it most, without being screwed by outrageous voice/data rates:
      ht [att.com]

  • Under the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 [europa.eu], the suggested EU VAT rate for books (and children's nappies!) is the reduced rate of 5%. Many countries, such as Ireland, the UK, and Poland, for example, have charged zero percent VAT on books [ebf-eu.org] for years. Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

    • by Narpak (961733) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @11:49AM (#29703925)
      I also wonder how many times you'll be able to download a book you have purchased.
      Some Kindle books have secret caps on the number of times you can download them. [boingboing.net]
      Kindle’s DRM [geardiary.com].

      If these stories are true then the Kindle is, in my eyes, nothing but a rip-off.
      • by geirnord (150896)

        For me, at least, is this not a topic of interest.

        I treat all DRM-encumbered purchases as an extended rent/lease agreement. Books (and music) tend to be one-off items for me, except in a few extraordinary cases. In these cases I prefer the special/ultimate/extended/uncut/annotated edition, and purchase the physical object anyway.

    • by Idiomatick (976696) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @12:05PM (#29703993)
      I wonder how much operating costs would be. Is the internet is the wireless net in Britain really a lot more expensive? They do realize that shipping a product online has the same operating costs anywhere on the earth... since you can do it from anywhere in the Earth. The whole thing is total BS.

      I think the real reason is, Europeans are used to taking it in the ass from electronics industries why not do that too? Yay +40% on anything that includes a chip for no reason... apparently on files now too.
      • ...that it is their product and they can set the price wherever the hell they want to. You don't have buy their stuff if you don't want to.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Idiomatick (976696)
          That's fine. But misrepresenting themselves (re. lying) to look innocent is pretty shameful and I have no qualms calling them on that. And Europe has increased prices on pretty much anything electronic, something the free market hasn't solved. So they don't have a huge variety of choice. Sort of like the companies have the right to do w/e they want, and I have the right to moan and whine about it.
      • by akadruid (606405)

        they don't want to negotiate with mobile networks in every country. international kindles still have AT&T sim cards, the extra £s are to cover the roaming charges.

        US kindles pay a surcharge to download abroad

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Reaperducer (871695)

      Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

      Is Amazon full of it, or are you jumping to uninformed conclusions?

      The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

        Is Amazon full of it, or are you jumping to uninformed conclusions? The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

        Your Kindle can READ?! Shit, that's really advanced. Mine just displays text.

        • by richmaine (128733)

          Your Kindle can READ?! Shit, that's really advanced. Mine just displays text.

          Um. Actually mine *CAN* read. Check out the text-to-speech feature.

          I don't think it is too strong on the understanding part, but it can do the reading part. :-)

      • by tgd (2822)

        And, Amazon subsidizes the cost of the ebook -- they pay the publisher the full print price that they would pay for a paper copy of the book, and are subsidizing the cost of the book to keep it at $9.99 in the US.

        If the paper book itself costs more elsewhere, they'd have to eat more of the loss unless the ebook price went up.

        The publishers are the problem, not Amazon. The publishers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the success of ebooks.

        • The publishers are the problem, not Amazon. The publishers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the success of ebooks.

          This is a rather cretinous policy; it would make more sense to take advantage of a "bums on seats" strategy of selling cheaply to many. Given that the entire burden of distribution is taken off their hands, it would literally be money for nothing.
          • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @03:09PM (#29705301) Homepage

            Everyone seems to think that the distribution of physical books is somehow expensive and troublesome. It isn't.

            The publisher puts the books into boxes and ships the box full of books (maybe 25 of them) for $10. That works out to be around $0.40 per book, delivered to the store.

            The cost of printing a softcover/paperback book is less than $2. You can have your very own book printed in small quantities for this price. So where does all the money go for a $20 currently popular book?

            You ever think it might go to the publisher that fronted the author money, paid for the editors, marketed the book and promoted it? Gosh, those costs might not change for an eBook at all.

            Guess what? Physical books aren't that expensive to distribute, and eBooks have almost identical costs. Sure on a $20 book you might save $2.50 but only $2.50. Waiting for the $1 currently popular eBook? You will be waiting a long time.

            • The publisher puts the books into boxes and ships the box full of books (maybe 25 of them) for $10. That works out to be around $0.40 per book, delivered to the store.

              This is especially true since Barnes & Noble perfected the Alternate Reality Warehouse that occupies no taxable real estate, costs nothing to heat and cool, and is staffed by Oompa Loompas.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              The publisher puts the books into boxes and ships the box full of books (maybe 25 of them) for $10. That works out to be around $0.40 per book, delivered to the store.

              You missed out the bit where the book store typically takes 30-40% of the cover price from the publisher, often on a sale or return basis. *That's* where all the money goes, and that's something that could change dramatically with digital distribution. Publishers who start selling ebooks can make money with dramatically lower prices. Those who can't, simply wont' survive - they are competing with other publishers, but also with all the self-publishers on the internet. You'll notice that the publishers who a

              • by firewood (41230)

                You missed out on the production costs, not of the book actually purchased, but for the 90%+ of the books published which don't sell well enough to cover the author fees and editorial salaries, marketing, etc.

                It's a gambling business. No one but idiots takes a big gamble unless there's a potential big payoff in sight.

                The physical books are just the near worthless chips (except to the readers of the good/great ones).

                • You missed out on the production costs, not of the book actually purchased, but for the 90%+ of the books published which don't sell well enough to cover the author fees and editorial salaries, marketing, etc.

                  Please reread my post. Origination is the term used in the publishing industry for production costs (author,editorial, design). All books have this cost of course, so those that don't sell can make a loss - much like any other business.

                  I agree book publishing is a gamble, but publishing ebooks is actually far less of a gamble, because as I pointed out, there are significant differences in costs between printing paper books and selling them to bookstores, and selling ebooks online. Bookstores take a signific

            • You ever think it might go to the publisher that fronted the author money, paid for the editors, marketed the book and promoted it? Gosh, those costs might not change for an eBook at all.

              Indeed, they may be fixed, but they are amortised over the entire distribution of the book. It doesn't take too long to recoup cost of editing if the book sells: the facts that publishers still exist and are profitable attests to this. Of course, once those costs are covered the difference between cost and sell price b

            • by snooo53 (663796) *

              Waiting for the $1 currently popular eBook? You will be waiting a long time.

              Which is exactly why e-books aren't catching on. Sure people care about the upfront price of the hardware, but not as much as the cost of the content. $10 e-books don't sell because the price point is too high for a digital piece of entertainment I'm not sure if I'll like. There's a reason why Redbox with their $1 video rentals is selling like crazy. When you get to that $1 price point, suddenly it doesn't matter as much if you threw away your dollar on something awful.

      • VAT Directives (Score:5, Insightful)

        by meehawl (73285) <meehawl DOT spam AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @01:00PM (#29704363) Homepage Journal

        The EU VAT policy directives specifically categorise ebooks and audio books as books, and thus *supposed* to be within the reduced VAT bands.

        Following its policy line in the field of reduced rates of VAT established in its Communication of July 2007 (COM (2007) 380 final), the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards reduced rates of VAT : COM(2008)428 [europa.eu]: ...
        allow reduced rates for:

                * children's nappies;
                * audio books, CD's, CD-ROMs or other physical support that predominantly reproduce the same information content as printed books;
                * few other technical adaptations already proposed in 2003, which are still valid, as equipment, aids and other appliances for disabled or services linked with waste treatment, etc.

        Amazon has a long history of basically ignoring EU law when it suits it. For example, Amazon.co.UK insisted for years on charging for VAT for books delivered to Ireland (when the UK still charged VAT). Did it refund that improperly charged VAT for Irish customers when it finally relented? No. See also: One-Click Patent. Amazon likes to borrow a lot of the oxygen about the freedom of information and open markets and the disincentivising quality of software patents, etc, but when it comes down to it, it's as aggressive and exclusionary and predatory as Apple or Microsoft.

        • by Wildclaw (15718)

          Did it refund that improperly charged VAT for Irish customers when it finally relented?

          Of course not, because that money had already been paid along to the government.

          You are talking like Amazon actually benefits from collecting higher VAT. They don't. VAT money is a tax, which is paid along to the government. Of course, if Amazon has been charging VAT while keeping the money, then we are talking about large scale tax fraud. Claiming that something is VAT on the receipt and than not treating it as such in accounting is highly illegal.

          • While your answer is logical and, on the surface, correct, it assumes perfect accounting procedures. However, if Irish tax authorities did not require VAT remitted to them for books sold, and Amazon was collecting said VAT, then where did the VAT go? Having dealt with VAT returns, I do know that while the wheels of revenue and excise turn extremely slowly, they do turn, and eventually, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, you will get a VAT credit for overpayment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by EvilIdler (21087)

        OK, then. Norway has 0% tax on downloadable software and books. The Kindle is still going to have trouble gaining popularity :)

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        They are charged full VAT rate in the UK, at least. Hopefully now Amazon is going to start making e-books more mainstream there will be a change in the law.

      • The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

        But not at 40%.

    • by paulhar (652995)

      Except, unfortunately, an electronic book isn't a book so they attract the full UK 17.5% VAT rate.

    • by jpmorgan (517966)
      Who exactly is full of it? e-books != books.

      e-books aren't covered under the VAT exception and you have to pay the full 15% on them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ThreeGigs (239452)

      RTFA, please.
      Or, if you're too lazy, I'll post the excerpt here:

      "Providing the wireless download service had proven a sticking point in the company's attempt to launch the Kindle outside America, after the retailer failed to come to an agreement with various mobile phone networks around the world. To push through the launch, the company instead chose to partner with American phone company AT&T, which already has its own international roaming deals around the world - including with British networks O2, V

      • by xaxa (988988)

        Over a penny per kB? That's AT&T ripping off their customers, not the British networks ripping off AT&T, and should be irrelevant when Amazon were negotiating the contract anyway.

        500MB/month 3G mobile broadband is £5/month from Orange.
        Three give 150MB/month if you top up by £5, plus free Skype calls.

      • by smoker2 (750216)
        Despite the quote, they are making shit up. We have existing data services in Europe that are cheaper and faster than the US equivalent. There is no need for Amazon to "partner" with any specific mobile network. And WTF are they talking about roaming for ? We are in our home countries - we will not BE roaming. We don't have AT&T accounts based in the US. Are they expecting us to make a cell phone call to the US just to download an ebook ? If they publish the books and let the device have a user accessib
        • by Anubis350 (772791)
          *you* arent the mobile customer in this case, amazon is. The device they're selling you comes with free cellular access, the whole point being it's entirely self contained and doesnt depend on you phone contract. So yes, they need to negotiate with the phone companies. Amazon wants to make money, if it'd been cheaper to go with a European carrier over the kludgey legal hack of using AT&T (and thus AT&Ts already negotiated network deals) they would have. Sounds to me like the EU providers made it too
          • by dangitman (862676)
            Why not just eliminate the free cellular access, and just use WiFi for the foreign models instead? The "free cellular access" thing always seemed like an unsustainable gimmick to me. It's not like many users would be inconvenienced by not having it. It seems like an unnecessary dependence on complex deals with unrelated entities. Amazon should just drop the price slightly, and not have to deal with the costs and hassles of dealing with phone companies (or including cellular hardware in the device).
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Hognoxious (631665)

          No-one would buy a car that you could only fill with 1 brand of gas, or only use on certain routes.

          They would if it was shiny and called an iMobile.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      That is for dead tree books. Ebooks are charged at the full rate of between 15% and 25%. The UK is at the lower end of that scale.

    • Do you know what the definition of a book is for VAT purposes and whether ebooks meet it?

    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Under the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 [europa.eu], the suggested EU VAT rate for books (and children's nappies!) is the reduced rate of 5%. Many countries, such as Ireland, the UK, and Poland, for example, have charged zero percent VAT on books [ebf-eu.org] for years. Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

      But, there's also the exchange rate, they'll be selling in euros and as we all know, $1 = 1.5 € (roughly) so they have to adjust their prices accordingly (same for UKP), as all of the other US companies routinely do.

      VAT is just one aspect. Besides it might only be 5% on books but there's the sales tax, which in the US is more like 10%. So you have to fit that in somewhere as well.

      So you end up with prices that are around 170% US prices. It all makes sense.

      • by lxs (131946)

        $1 = 1.5 € (roughly)

        I think you mean "$1.5 = 1 € (roughly)"

        Although, your way of converting may be closer to the way Amazon does it. It is almost always cheaper to import books from the US version of Amazon and pay for international shipping than to get them from the European Amazon stores.

    • Do you have any reason to believe those rates apply to ebooks?

  • Who kindle is useful compare with other devices ?
    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      Its very useful if you're interested in reading fiction and mostly-text magazines on a regular basis, and would like to carry a large library with you. Its not especially good for reference usage as the screen refresh rate is too slow, and the built-in web-browser is very limited -- only really much good for looking up things in wikipedia (which can be very nice, however).

      Compared to other e-book readers -- its more constrained but more user-friendly. The built-in wireless makes it very easy to buy books

  • Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps thinks that e-reader prices need to come down even more if the devices are going to become mainstream products, however. She suggested $99 as a price that would be much more likely to lure consumers. She said people "have somewhat unrealistic expectations of how much consumer electronics in general, and e-readers in particular, should be."

    Considering that every consumer gadget falls in price dramatically over time, I'll just wait for when I can get an ebook reader at Walmart or Target for $49 or less. I remember when the MP3 players came out for hundreds of dollars and now you can get them for under $50 and they play CDs too.

    As these things become more popular, more factories will open up to produce the screens, the cost will drastically come down from its current $60 [businessweek.com].

    It will happen. You just need to be patient and let the first adopters g

  • That's nothing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @11:51AM (#29703933)

    I recently bought a monitor for exactly double its price in the USA.

    For commodity hardware, a rule of 1.5x the US price is quite accurate, but for those a little bit more rare, it goes all the way up to 2.5x. If the Kindle becomes available here (which I strongly doubt), I would fully expect a price of $550-600.

    P.S. The VAT on books here is 0%.

    • by paulhar (652995)

      P.S. The VAT on ebooks is 17.5%, unfortunately. They're not books but electronic downloads and are taxed as such.

    • by Ma8thew (861741)
      Actually, the Kindle will be available in the UK (as the summary says). Although at the moment it has to be paid for in dollars and shipped from the US, Amazon says 'In the future, we plan to introduce a UK-centric Kindle experience'.
      • What made you think I was from the UK? ;) If only I was - then the Kindle with my predicted price wouldn't cost 50% of my monthly salary...

        • by Ma8thew (861741)
          Oh, my mistake. I took the comment on VAT to mean you're from the UK, but I realise now that you could be from anywhere in Europe, or many other places for that matter.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@PARISlynx.bc.ca minus city> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @11:57AM (#29703957) Journal
    If I want to read fiction, I can easily grab a book and read it... where a portable device is *really* handy, however, is being able to carry a large number of books in a small space at once... such as reference material, and it is impractical to carry some 50 to 70 odd pounds of books everywhere. Thus, I want a portable device for reading documents that have already been formatted for 8.5x11, usable in any lighting condition where one could otherwise read conventional printed material (ie, laptop and notebook screens are not adequate because they are not easily readable in bright sunlight). Plastic Logic is coming out with a 10.4" diagonal screen reader soon that satisfies this contrast requirement, but even that's still about a third smaller than a full letter-sized screen.
    • by Compholio (770966)

      If I want to read fiction, I can easily grab a book and read it... where a portable device is *really* handy, however, is being able to carry a large number of books in a small space at once... such as reference material, and it is impractical to carry some 50 to 70 odd pounds of books everywhere.

      I completely agree, personally I find one to two book to be "reasonable" to carry around. What I would REALLY like to see is a book reader that:

      1. Looks like a book when closed
      2. Has two reading surfaces inside
      3. H
    • The IREX Digital Reader is likely the closest thing right now:
      http://www.irextechnologies.com/irexdr1000 [irextechnologies.com]

      But generally speaking it seems like the devices just aren't quite there yet. I'm betting it's a few generations until we get to the really good stuff.

      Early "smartphones" sucked too, and these days they are genuinely useful. :)

      Also check out the E-book Reader Matrix, seems to be updated fairly often:
      http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix [mobileread.com]

      A sidenote on the Kindle: Available in Finland: Yes. B

      • Well, there hasn't really been a market for localized ebooks in any of the smaller countries around the world so far.

        Only place you could get them in large quantities were the reader's manufacturer's websites, and they only catered to large markets.

        Why would any Finnish publisher even bother with making any of their books available as ebooks, when there were probably less than a thousand ebook readers in all of Finland. Same with Denmark, Norway, Sweden and all the other small locales.

        The big push will come

    • While a lot of us would like something in that size, I think quite a lot of manufacturers are looking at the netbook market for inspiration.

      We don't see many netbooks with a 14.3" (A4 diagonal) or 13.9" (Letter diagonal) size screens. They're all around 10" (you mentioned the 10.4" coming out).

      And once you have the screen, you still need a bezel, and some kind of input device as well, unless you want it to be an expensive touch screen model as well. I wouldn't mind, as it'd be nice to add notes, comments an

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @12:07PM (#29704007) Homepage
    The only reason the Kindle couldn't go "international" in the first place was because they want to have "international" pricing, which of course means DRM.  Without DRM, Amazon's product could have been global more or less instantly.

    Even regular folks think that ten bucks for an e-book is nonsense, and they are also starting to see how DRM reduces the value of an electronic purchase to essentially nil.

    In the end, some Chinese company will come out with something technically similar with no strings attached, and they'll wipe the floor with Amazon if they don't improve on this silly strategy.  I'd pay maybe a buck for an e-book, just for convenience sake--but not if you can yank it away from me at will.
    • by tgd (2822)

      No, the only reason it couldn't go International was because the hardware used Sprint's shitty network in the US, and wouldn't work anywhere else.

    • Sorry Amazon, but your market is the early adoptors and those with to much cash.

      The idea of an e-book reader in itself is... well it is the PSP-Go. What am I going to do with all the books I already bought? Can't rip them and put them on it can I?

      Rebuy all of them? Sure, if they were cheap, but they ain't even cheaper then the printed book.

      So, I have to buy a very expensive reader, that I can't use on my existing collection of books and in return I get something that can break if I sit on it, batteries r

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Today, if they charged 50 cents they would get to keep maybe 20 cents. Credit card or other processing fees are going to eat the rest.

        Even Paypal if you want to have a business account is going to charge fees.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @12:07PM (#29704013)
    When shipping and Amazon's other charges are taken into account. This piece of tech costs nearly $345. All you get is a single-use device. For that money you'd be better off buying a netbook. At least then you'd get a decent sized (and colour) screen.

    Since it's already been out a year in this model (version 2), I have a sneaking suspicion that this ploy is merely to dump old stock (if Amazon can get anyone to buy it) before a new model is introduced.

    • by V50 (248015)

      Yeah, you can, but the whole thing about ebook readers is they use ePaper and eInk. From what I understand, it has a display that highly resembles paper, has no lighting, etc. This makes it much more like a book, not to mention the form factor. I've tried to read ebooks on my MacBook pro, and I just can't, because it's nothing like a real book, it's awkward and totally terrible outside etc.

      It's not just an aversion to LCD either. I'm a big comic book fan (Marvel mainly) but because I'm in a rural area, I ty

    • When shipping and Amazon's other charges are taken into account. This piece of tech costs nearly $345.

      What shipping and other changes? Shipping is free and I don't know of any other charges. Even more when you buy Kindle books you get two discounts: first, the books are usually cheaper (not by much) and second, you don't pay shipping charges. I think that if you buy about 20-30 books it's like you get the device for free.

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Even more when you buy Kindle books you get two discounts: first, the books are usually cheaper (not by much) and second, you don't pay shipping charges.

        "Not by much" is exactly right, and as far as shipping charges, I've never paid Amazon to ship me anything. They offer free shipping on larger orders, so I'll wait until I have a few books I'm interested in and order them all at once.

        I think that if you buy about 20-30 books it's like you get the device for free.

        Huh? You think you're going to get a $10 discount per book? Not bloody likely! Maybe if you bought 200 books, the kindle would end up being free ... but by then it will probably have broken, and you'll be paying out the ass to have it shipped back to them and repaired/repla

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      If you're not heavily invested in the single use, then yes, you should buy a netbook. It is, in the end, a niche device, and will remain so until e-paper prices come down (at least).

      But, if you are a heavy reader with some cash, it really is a great device to have (with the caveat of the well-documented DRM issues). I personally find its increased my amount of reading a lot, and its wonderful to be able to carry a couple of books and three weekly magazines in my bag in a single small device. A netbook wo

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      Which netbooks have eInk screens?

  • by macshit (157376) <miles@g[ ]org ['nu.' in gap]> on Saturday October 10, 2009 @12:27PM (#29704139) Homepage

    Note that this "international edition" still has the same gimped fonts as the "U.S. edition", which basically only contains latin characters.

    This seems very silly, given that the kindle actually seems perfectly capable of using a default font with much larger coverage: someone released a patch that changes the default kindle font to be Google's wide-coverage (e.g. including CJK characters) "DroidSansFallback" font! [blogkindle.com] (the page I linked to contains two patches, for two different fonts). It would have almost trivial for Amazon to do something similar (and they could have done a better job).

    I don't know what Amazon is thinking, but this is a pretty pathetic attempt at an "international" kindle.

    • You don't know what they are thinking? I do. They are thinking that they'll be able to sell to that subset of the European market that does not care about 'latin only'. They can learn from their experience in that market, make some customers happy, and earn some money while behind the scenes they can be working on a Kindle that can handle non-latin characters.

      In other words, first mover advantage is more important than perfection in a 1.0 product. Amazon understands this.
      • by pangloss (25315)

        You don't know what they are thinking? I do. They are thinking that they'll be able to sell to that subset of the European market that does not care about 'latin only'. They can learn from their experience in that market, make some customers happy, and earn some money while behind the scenes they can be working on a Kindle that can handle non-latin characters.

        In other words, first mover advantage is more important than perfection in a 1.0 product. Amazon understands this.

        Amazon never had the first mover advantage. Sony easily beat Amazon to market. Amazon obviously had more success, however. The Kindle runs Linux and Java. There's no excuse for failing to support unicode fonts in that environment. We're not even talking about poor interface issues for right-to-left languages. Most users for whom the Kindle's latin-only fixation is a problem would be well pleased if the Kindle just used a Unicode font!

    • by identity0 (77976)

      That's pretty disappointing, and also a bit WTF. 'Internationalization' with only Latin fonts?!

      Note that Amazon Japan is also selling this, and story on this at Slashdot Japan [slashdot.jp].

      It seems no one in the thread has one yet, but there are other people complaining about the poor Japanese support of other ebook readers like SonyReader. Japanese, as well as using different characters often uses vertical-orientation writing with the lines and pages going right to left. Other ebook readers put page divides in the wron

      • by macshit (157376)

        Hopefully what someone else mentioned in another thread on this story is correct: really this is just Amazon's way of making some quick cash off of U.S. tourists and expatriates while shaking out any bugs in their expanded network, in preparation for the launch of a new unit with proper handling of other languages.

        Plus people are worried that 600x800 is too small for the kanji characters

        A typical bunko (A6 sized) page has around 16 rows of about 40 characters, which would allow characters of about 20x20 pixels. With judicious anti-aliasing and a well-designed font, that should

        • by macshit (157376)

          A typical bunko (A6 sized) page has around 16 rows of about 40 characters

          Er, that should be: around 16 columns of about 40 characters each...

  • Not for me! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Linnerd (150927)

    I live in Switzerland and I will not buy such a device.

    The main reasons are:
    - copy protection in Kindle (I usually pass on books that
    I'm done with - if only to gain room for new books)
    - reader way too expensive
    - books way to expensive (paper still is a lot cheaper)
    - can't highlight phrases / earmark pages / collect citations
    - did I mention copy protection?

    The ebook business will have to go a long way until they
    get to the point where mp3 shops are today...

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

      To be fair, you can in fact highlight phrases and earmark pages with the Kindle. In addition to storing them with the novel, if you plug it in to the computer, it appears as a flash drive and you can grab the file with your highlights, which could be convenient for some things.

      Of course, the rest of your points are still reasonable.

  • Seems that that whole globalization push is not meant for 'us', only for 'them' (for variable values of 'us' and 'them'). All the more reason to push back I'd say. If we don't get to pick the same fruits I don't see why we should play by the same rules...

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Saturday October 10, 2009 @03:02PM (#29705259)

    Kindle = way too much Amazon lock-in, control and DRM.

    Just give me an e-book reader that supports standard formats, with no wireless or DRM please.

  • Amazon.co.uk spokesman revealed that foreign customers — including those in Britain — would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title." The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

    Good. Paying significantly higher prices might help those who believe, "it is free because the government pays for it" to get a clue.

  • Anyone own a Sony pocket reader? For 199$ it's able to read epub, pdf and html. I was thinking it might be worth a try since there is a ton of classic books I'd like to read (lovecraft, dickens, verne, etc.).

    For about the same price I could also get a ipod/iphone touch, anyone using them as readers?

  • Hello Kindle, which is what I want for read and transporting PDFs and other stuff. there is enough software out there to convert much of my stored text into something that I can download.

  • VAT sounds like a very good reason to continue to buy dead trees then. In the UK at least, paper books are zero rated for VAT. It's only e-books and audio books the you pay VAT on.

  • I have seen a demo of some other pdf reader and turning pages or moving them up/down was an extremely slow and tedious process. It also always caused a very unpleasant flicker of the page.
    Is this also the case with the Kindle?

    • The flicker, which I don't consider unpleasant, is due to the physical properties of e-ink. It is a bi-stable screen, which means that little black pixels are electromagnetically moved up and down in white fluid to produce an image that stays without power, pretty much forever. This is why e-readers with e-ink screens have a battery life of over 2 weeks, no screen to actively power.

      As far as the kindle goes, K2 is pretty fast, on the order of 250 ms (screen limitation, not hardware/software). I haven't seen

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