Kindle in Germany – German Kindle arrives with 25,000 German books

Amazon launched a German Kindle Store today and started selling Kindle in Germany straight from Amazon.de.

There’s a Press Release on the German Kindle available. This post has the key interesting details.

Kindle in Germany – Details on the German Kindle

  1. Amazon.de will start selling Kindles directly. Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi will be sold.
  2. The user interface for the Kindles will still be in English. Makes you wonder if it’s a bit of a rushed release.
  3. There is a German Kindle Store with 650,000 titles (English books, German books, and books in other languages).
  4. There are 25,000 German language books, including 71 out of 100 Spiegel bestsellers. Authors include Arno Geiger, Kerstin Gier, and Charlotte Link.
  5. There are also some German newspapers and magazines available, including Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Handelsblatt, and Die Zeit.
  6. There are thousands of German classics available for free in the German Kindle Store. 
  7. Kindle Reading Apps are now available in German - including Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, and Kindle for Android. 
  8. Kindle Direct Publishing Service (self-publishing for authors) is available worldwide - authors can now sell their titles to Kindle owners in Germany via the German Kindle Store. The 70% royalty option is available with the usual restrictions (the book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99, etc.).
  9. WhisperSync is available with all the usual features.
  10. Kindle WiFi is 139 Euros and Kindle 3G is 189 Euros. They are available with free 2-day shipping at Amazon.de.

Amazon is certainly making a lot of announcements right before its upcoming earnings release (April 26th, 2011). Perhaps it is buffering against something in the earnings release it thinks Wall Street will hate (such as a lot of investment in the Kindle).

Kindle in Germany – What does it mean?

  1. Amazon is finally moving beyond US and UK. It’s showing a surprising amount of interest in Europe by picking Germany as the third country to expand to.
  2. It probably means Amazon is going to keep setting up country-specific stores. Perhaps, eventually, Amazon will end up selling Kindles through Amazon Japan, through its Chinese partner/subsidiary, and through its other subsidiaries (Amazon Italy, Amazon France, Amazon Transylvania).
  3. The choice of Germany is a bit puzzling – Firstly, there are very strict book pricing laws in Germany. Secondly, it’s only got 25,000 German language ebooks.
  4. This move suggests Amazon is serious about selling books in other languages. At the minimum, it’ll take a shot and see how things go.
  5. It’s strange that Amazon would launch with only 25,000 German language books. Wonder what percentage of German book titles that figure represents.

It’s certainly an interesting move in terms of country and timing – releasing a German Kindle before releasing the Kindle in China, Japan, or an English-speaking country like Australia is puzzling. After the April 26 Amazon Earnings Release we might have a better idea why Amazon moved ahead with Kindle Germany and a mere 25,000 German Kindle books.

10 Responses

  1. Hey can you get German books on the American Kindle ????? My mom would love that on the Kindle I bought her for Christmas

  2. I could be wrong but I believe the German booktrade business is the 2nd largest in the world – even bigger than the UK. At the very least it is 3rd worldwide.

    China will be a very difficult market for outsiders to crack. The government is not going to be very tolerant of western companies gaining large parts of the Chinese booktrade. In fact I’m unsure if China will even allow Amazon to use whispersync tech since one can use it to circumvent the Great Firewall…

    I also suspect that China will be one of the (few) countries where piracy really will be a problem.

  3. It is disappointing (but not surprising) that there are regional restrictions on the books. As a former German lit student, it would be great to have access to the latest books in German (without the cost of mail order) and, as a native English speaker, a German dictionary would be invaluable.

    Since the interface is still in English, however, I have my doubts that they have a functional German dictionary in there.

    Most of the free German books have been available for years via project gutenberg, manybooks, etc.

  4. Ok, but what about Spanish? You know, the world’s 3rd most spoken language, after English and Mandarin Chinese? German is ranked 10th…strange place for them to start.

    • Good question.

    • “Most spoken languages” is not the same thing as “most books sold”, *especially* not when the market is so fragmented across the world. It’s not the language that is the issue, it is the book market, and for that, you cannot lump all Spanish language speaking countries together (let alone say the spanish speaking USA residents).

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