This is a Kindle 2 International review, availability guide. Since Kindle International Wireless version is the exact same device as the Kindle 2 (only difference is the wireless service and the HSDPA card) we can break the review into two parts -
- Review of the Kindle 2. For this, my Kindle 2 review based on 6+ months of ownership should suffice. It’s an 8.5 out of 10 in my opinion and the best eReader currently available.
- Review of the WhisperNet features of the Kindle International. This is what this kindle international review will focus on as they are quite different.
How is Kindle International different from Kindle 2?
Let’s take UK as an example -
- Custom Duties and Shipping takes the price from $279 to $345 (roughly a 25% increase). That’s 217 pounds to get a Kindle 2 International.
- There is Free 3G Wireless to get your books wirelessly – However, the experimental web browser is not available which means NO free Internet.
- In countries with WhisperNet Wikipedia access is included – However, only to the English Wikipedia.
- Blogs are not available.
- There are 280K books available instead of the 350K available in the US. This varies a lot by country – the kindle 2 international product page has details.
- Book Prices are $11.99 to $13.99 instead of $9.99 – although they include VAT in the UK.
- The data transfer fee for personal documents (if you transfer them wirelessly) is a ridiculous $1 per MB.
Also it seems like you’ll have to get a physical UK to US plug to use with the power adapter.
There are three categories of countries -
- Those that get Whispernet and no Free Internet.
- Those that get Kindle but no wireless access.
- Those that do not get the Kindle.
There are three exceptions – Japan, Mexico and Hong Kong which get free Internet and blogs.
Kindle International Review for Countries with No Free Internet
This includes most of Europe, and a lot of South America, India, etc.
The main disadvantages for kindle owners in these countries (see next section for complete list) seem to be -
- Custom Duties and Shipping. This adds approximately 25% to the price (based on the UK – it might be more for your country). You would have to pay some amount for shipping even in the US so its more like a 20% premium.
- No Free Internet – this is a top 5 Kindle benefit (although not in the Top 3) and does reduce the value proposition a bit.
- High charges for transferring personal documents. This limits the usefulness of the Kindle International version if you planned to transfer a lot of personal documents and PDFs.
- Slightly higher book prices and slightly lower range.
Do note that Sony had only 50,000 or so titles available in the UK so the Kindle International having 280K is a huge jump.
On the plus side, the main benefits of the Kindle are still preserved in Kindle 2 International version (in these countries) -
- A screen that is great for reading.
- A device that is optimized for and focused on reading.
- 60 second wireless downloads and always on Store.
- A wide range of available titles.
- Wikipedia Access for reference (only the English version).
I would say that Kindle International (in countries that have WhisperNet) is still a 8 stars out of 10 eReader.
Countries that get Kindle International and WhisperNet (the limited version)
The grand list of countries -
- Albania, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia (there is a separate page to order Kindle for Australia), Austria.
- Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria.
- Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic.
- Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador.
- France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana.
- Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong (gets blogs and browser too), Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy.
- Jamaica, Japan (gets blogs and browser), Kenya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg.
- Macao, Macedonia, Mexico (gets blogs and browser), Montenegro, Montserrat.
- Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia.
- Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland.
- Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, Virgin Islands (British and US).
Kindle 2 International Review for Countries that do not get wireless downloads
This includes a lot of African countries (Congo, Zambia, Uganda) and a few Asian and European countries (Monaco, Cyprus, Finland).
For these countries -
- You lose the benefit of 60 second downloads.
- You lose the wireless connection to the kindle store (which is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day).
- You lose Wikipedia access.
My experience with the Kindle in Canada has been good even without wireless access so the Kindle 2 still gets 7.5 stars out of 10 in these countries.
You can buy books from Amazon and then download them and transfer to the kindle 2 via USB.
Countries that get Kindle International but do not get WhisperNet i.e. No Wireless Service.
The grand list of countries that get Kindle International without wireless -
- Kindle - Aland Islands, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Armenia.
- Kindle - Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi.
- Kindle - Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Cote dIvoire.
- Kindle - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, French Guiana, French Polynesia.
- Kindle – Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland.
- Kindle – Georgia, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Guinea Bissau, Holy See, Jersey, Kiribati.
- Kindle – Lao, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar.
- Kindle – Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea.
- Kindle – Rwanda, Reunion, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland.
- Kindle – Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Countries that do not get Kindle International
These countries miss out totally (Canada being left out makes me sad although Amazon note they are working on getting Kindle Canada in place) -
- Afghanistan, Antarctica, Argentina, Azerbaijan.
- Bouvet Island, British Indian Ocean Territory, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso.
- Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, Cuba.
- Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, French Southern Territories, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Guinea.
- Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Isle of Man, Israel.
- Jordan, Kazakhastan (Borat is disappointed), Korea (North and South), Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan.
- Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco.
- New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Pitcairn.
- Qatar, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia.
- South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Sudan, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Syrian Arab Republic.
- Tajikistan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan.
- United Arab Emirates, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Uzbekistan, Western Sahara, Yemen.
The surprising exclusions to the Kindle International release include Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Argentina, China and Turkey.
Kindle International Availability – Thoughts.
The Kindle International version is a big step forward by Amazon. They have managed to add -
- Kindle 2 with wireless store and free Internet in 3 countries – Japan, Hong Kong, and Mexico.
- They have gotten Kindle 2 with the wireless store into an astonishing 81 countries.
- Finally, they have made the Kindle 2 without wireless available in another 90 countries.
A few hours ago we had Kindle 2 available in 1 country. Now its 175 countries. That is impressive and the Kindle International team deserve a ton of credit for getting wireless agreements in 81 countries.
In terms of Kindle 2 International and Continents -
- Kindle availability in Europe is really good, usually with WhisperNet.
- Kindle availability in South America is pretty good.
- Kindle misses China but gets the other Asian giant India.
- Africa gets pretty good coverage.
- Kindle is now available in a surprisingly large number of smaller countries.
With Kindle International Amazon seem to have made a conscious effort to cover english speaking countries and countries that use the English alphabet.