These are the countries that are the most interested in the Kindle based on Alexa information, Google Trends, etc. (see section at the end for methodology) –
- Germany – Kindle Germany is getting the most buzz among the Kindle sites although it’s only 5th based on Google Trends. German is the 2nd most popular language for Kindle related searches.
- United Kingdom – Kindle interest is huge in the UK. A very close 2nd.
- India – Interest in Kindle is huge despite the concerns over price (more people search for ‘kindle price’ in India than any other non-US country).
- Canada – There’s no Kindle for Canada and still Canadians search for it a lot. Hopefully the ‘Amazon bidding Telcos against each other’ rumors are true and we get Kindle in Canada soon.
- China – Another country that has huge interest in the Kindle despite the Kindle not being available. Chinese is the 3rd most popular language of searches.
- Russia – Top 5 for some Kindle Sites. There are a decent number of Russian ebook sites so Russia might be in the Top 3 in terms of Kindle interest.
- Austria – Surprisingly high interest in the Kindle.
- Australia – In the top 10 for nearly every single Kindle site and search term.
- South Africa – Another country with a surprisingly high amount of interest.
- Italy – Was a big surprise to see more Kindle interest in Italy than in France.
- Spain – Another surprise because there are hardly any Spanish ebooks in the Kindle Store.
- France – A big surprise to see such little interest in the Kindle in France.
- Ireland – In the top 5 for some sites.
- Japan – The Japanese have surprisingly low interest in the Kindle (Amazon removed the Free Internet in Japan and they don’t seem to care). Could it be the popularity of writing and reading books on cellphones?
- Netherlands – Strong interest.
- Hong Kong – Very high interest for some searches and missing completely elsewhere.
- Denmark – A surprising large number of sources had Denmark in the Top 10.
- Philippines – Strong Interest across most sites and sources.
In addition to Canada and China there were a few other countries that were very interested in the Kindle despite it not being available –
- New Zealand – though they seem more concerned that Australia got the Kindle than the fact that they didn’t.
- Indonesia – Definitely a Top 20 country in terms of Kindle Interest.
- Singapore – Another Top 20 country. Very high for some Google search terms.
- Turkey – Perhaps the only European country left out.
- Saudi Arabia
Surprisingly Argentina didn’t show up anywhere.
Languages that had the most Kindle related searches
Languages according to Google (a rough ranking) –
These results should be of interest to Book Publishers in various countries. If Google’s relative scale is to be believed there is very healthy interest in ebooks in various languages. Plus it’s a market Amazon is not in yet.
How the Kindle Interest by Country List was Created
There were a number of factors mixed in –
- Google Trends for various search terms.
- Alexa information for various Kindle Sites.
- Google Analytics (only for one site).
- Google News – Kindle News coverage was highest in UK, Canada and Australia.
Google Trends was weighed the most, followed by the various Kindle Sites. While there were some changes across the various measures the Top 20 did not change that much. In fact some countries were consistently in the Top 5. The list probably is 80% correct in terms of Top 20 countries.
Kindle News Coverage – UK, Canada, Australia all complaining.
Interestingly it’s the $11.99 and $13.99 prices that have gotten the Kindle the most publicity. In both Australia and UK the press is up in arms over the ‘40% mark-up’. It’s rather amusing because –
- Price in Australia is $11.99 (a 20% mark-up) and not $13.99.
- UK has high VAT on eBooks, which combined with the AT&T data charge explains the higher prices (not saying prices are reasonable, just that there’s a reason for the higher prices).
- The price of physical books (in most cases) and ebooks (in most cases) in UK and Australia is higher than the supposedly outrageous Kindle prices.
Canada and New Zealand are rather upset they don’t get the Kindle. There’s a lot of bitterness despite rumors in both countries that Kindle is on the way (Vodafone for Kindle New Zealand and Amazon negotiations with Telcos for Canada).
Most other countries have a few scattered articles.
There’s another wave of news coverage starting now that Amazon has introduced country based restrictions. Now people from every single country (including the US) will run into books in the Kindle Store they cannot download.
Why Muslim Countries and China didn’t get the Kindle
There’s a thread at MobileRead speculating on why Kindle was left out of some countries –
- A lot of the Middle East.
- China and Pakistan although India got Kindle Books.
One commenter might have hit the nail on the head when he brought up the strong censorship issues in these countries. 1984 is nothing compared to the headache and trouble Amazon would get from a country like China or Iran.
For example, Amazon sells Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses (not in ebook format). That might lead to certain countries banning Kindles, etc. The problem is worse because if Amazon were to restrict sales of certain books in certain countries they would take a PR hit in the US. It’s a lose-lose situation.
There are also a few other reasons that may be the main ones –
- A lot of these countries have English as a secondary language i.e. they just don’t have that big of an English market.
- The whole reading right to left issue is a problem. Which might be why Israel didn’t get it either.
- China already has a lot of Kindle knock-offs and the Chinese Government tends to favor Chinese companies (they put in a law today restricting sale of virtual goods to only Chinese companies).
A combination of those reasons is probably why a lot of Muslim countries and China didn’t get the Kindle.