French Kindle & French Kindle Store

The new Kindle 4 is now available in France and in the French language – a French Kindle Store has been opened and the French Kindle is available for 99 Euros.

You can visit French Kindle Store to get the French Kindle.

Here are some of the interesting details from the Press Release -

  1. Releases on October 14th.
  2. There will be 35,000 French language books and 4,000 free classics in French.
  3. There will also be English titles - 825,000 of them.
  4. The price for Kindle 4 in France is 99 Euros.
  5. French newspapers and magazines include – Le Monde, Les Echos, Le Figaro, Libération and Aujourd’hui en France/Le Parisien.
  6.  Independent authors and Publishers can use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish to the French Kindle Store.

It’s certainly interesting news. It’s the second country specific Kindle Store after the UK Kindle Store.

Kindle Library Lending now live (11,000 libraries have Kindle Library Lending)

Kindle Library Lending is now live and available at 11,000 libraries in the US.

Amazon’s Kindle Library Lending Page.

They have some basic instructions which can be summarized as -

  1. Visit the website of a US Library that offers OverDrive digital ebook loans.
  2. Check out a Kindle book (they mean an ebook). You must have a valid library card.
  3. Then you will get a page that has a button that says ‘Get for Kindle’. Press that button and you will have to sign-in to your Amazon account and will then be able to have the book you just got on loan from the library sent to your Kindle or to your Kindle Reading App.
  4. The books are transferred wirelessly only over WiFi. If you don’t have WiFi access you have to do a download to your PC and transfer via USB cable.

Do you have more Questions about Kindle Library Lending?

Amazon has a Help section for Kindle Library Lending now live.

There are some interesting details on Kindle Library Lending including -

  1. You can view status of public library books from the Manage Your Kindle page.
  2. Wireless delivery is only via WiFi.
  3. Library Books can be sent to any Kindle or to any Kindle reading app. It’s not clear whether they can be read on multiple devices in parallel.
  4. Three days before a book loan ends you will be notified via email.
  5. Length of the ebook loan will vary by library. As will the range of ebooks available.

It’s understandable that Amazon wouldn’t subsidize 3G wireless for a free library book. That would just kill it in terms of bandwidth costs – especially given that it’s making zero money from a free library book and thus has nothing it can use to subsidize bandwidth costs.

What if your local library doesn’t support OverDrive?

Update: Library of Philadelphia (for $40) and Library of Fulton County, GA (for $35) allows non-residents to get membership. Thanks to Brian and Caroline for the information.

Well, there are some libraries such as (supposedly) the Library of Pittsburgh that allow membership even for non-residents of the city/state. For around $40 you can get a year’s membership. Please leave a comment if you know of any other libraries that allow this. To the best of my knowledge Seattle Library allows membership for anyone living close to Seattle.

It’s a huge feature addition. Library book support on the Kindle is more meaningful to most users than ePub support or touch or animated page turns. It’ll be interesting to see what effect it has on the race to zero that ebook prices are currently seeing. Kindle Library Lending might be the straw that breaks the ‘Publishing as a Viable Industry’ Camel’s back.

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.

Kindle WiFi sold out for Christmas, Kindle 3 available

The Kindle 3G is the only Kindle available in time for Christmas. The Kindle WiFi is experiencing 3 to 5 day delays, which means it is sold out for Christmas.

Thanks to Peter for the update.

Here’s what Amazon’s Kindle WiFi page says -

Expected to ship in 3 to 5 days.

Ordering for Christmas? Due to overwhelming customer demand, Kindle (Wi-Fi) is temporarily out of stock. Orders placed today will arrive after December 24th.

Order now to reserve your place in line. Our Kindle 3G for $189 is still available in time for Christmas.

Well, selling out around a week before Christmas isn’t terribly bad. It could have been much worse.

It does mean that people looking to buy Kindles will either have to buy the Kindle 3G, or they will have to patiently wait past Christmas to get their Kindle WiFi.

Was Kindle WiFi selling a lot more than Kindle 3G?

It seems plausible that Amazon was either producing more Kindle WiFis than Kindle 3s, or that it was producing equal quantities of both. If either was the case, it would mean Kindle WiFi was selling much faster than Kindle 3.

Given the $139 price of the Kindle WiFi, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that it was selling faster, that it sold out before the Kindle 3, and that it sold out a week before Christmas.

It makes Amazon’s decision, to limit Kindle sales to the US and UK, seem a smart one – If Kindle WiFi and/or Kindle 3 had sold out at the end of November, that would have meant more Nook WiFi sales and more Nook sales. It does, however, make you wonder why Amazon recently changed its limit on Kindle sales per person from 3 to 5. That must have contributed to the sell-out.

The Kindle 3, in both white and graphite variants, is very much in stock. Amazon states on the page that orders placed today will arrive on or before December 24th. That’s definitely your best option if you’re looking to buy a Kindle for Christmas.

Refurbished Kindle DX – $220 Refurbished Kindle DX US

The refurbished Kindle DX US is available for $220 at Amazon. It’s a great deal and approaches the ideal Kindle DX price ($200).

Refurbished Kindle DX – Should you get the $220 Refurbished Kindle DX?

That’s a good question. There are two parts to this – Is the Kindle DX the right eReader for you? Is the Refurbished Kindle DX US a good Kindle DX to get?

Kindle DX is a good eReader – with pros and cons

The knock against the Kindle DX has always been the price and lack of mobility.

Kindle DX has several advantages – It’s got a 9.7″ eInk screen that is great for magazines and newspapers, its pretty good for books, it’s large enough for PDFs, you can choose landscape mode to make PDFs and browsing better, it has an accelerometer.

It’s well made and it comes with a 1 year warranty – the refurbished Kindle DX US also comes with a one year warranty.

Kindle DX also has several disadvantages – It’s quite large and hard to carry and hold, the PDF support is limited, it’s a bit slow (slower than smaller Kindles), it’s expensive, one-handed reading is almost impossible.

Overall, the Kindle DX is a good choice if you want an eInk screen, which is great for reading, in a size large enough to handle very large font sizes and magazines and newspapers and PDFs and webpages.

Refurbished Kindle DX at $220 is a pretty good choice

Your options are -

  1. $220 Refurbished Kindle DX US. This is very good value for money. It’s refurbished by Amazon and comes with a 1 year warranty. You can return it up to 30 days after it ships or up to the end of January if you buy it in December. The downsides are that it’s slower, it has slower page turns, and it uses the older generation eInk screen.
  2. Used Kindle DX US at $259. No reason at all to get this if the Refurbished Kindle DX US or a Refurbished Kindle DX is available.
  3. Used Kindle DX 1 at $249. This is the Kindle DX International. It doesn’t have the new eInk Pearl screen but the page turns are a bit faster and screen is a bit better than Kindle DX US. It’s still slow and page turns are still slow. It does use the older generation eInk screen – same one that the Kindle DX US uses. A refurbished version is sometimes available for $280 to $300 and is a decent option.
  4. New Kindle DX 1 at $329. There’s not really any reason to get this unless you really need 3G outside the US. It’s also not that much cheaper than the Kindle DX 2.
  5. New Kindle DX 2 at $379. The latest generation Kindle DX. It has the new eInk Pearl screen but not the software improvements in the Kindle 3 – It’s therefore not as much better than Kindle DX US and International as Kindle 3 is over the Kindle 2s.

If you look at value for money what you’re giving up with the refurbished Kindle DX US is - it’s refurbished and not new, there’s no 3G outside the US, it’s a little slower, it doesn’t have the new eInk Pearl screen, and it doesn’t have some of the speed improvements. It is, however, $159 cheaper than the $379 Kindle DX 2 and it’s a very usable device.

My recommendation would be to go with the $220 Refurbished Kindle DX US if it meets your needs – It’s pretty solid value for money.

$220 Refurbished Kindle DX – What do you miss by not choosing Kindle DX 2?

Here’s what you get with the Refurbished Kindle DX -

  1. A large 9.7″, second generation eInk screen that supports 16 shades of grey. It has 1200 by 824 resolution at 150 pixels per inch.
  2. A $220 price – that’s $159 less than a new Kindle DX 2.
  3. A one year limited warranty and a 30 day return period (end of January if you buy it in December). 
  4. PDF support – though it’s rather limited. 
  5. Great battery life – up to 4 days with wireless on and 2 weeks with wireless off.
  6. The text to speech feature, an accelerometer, 4 GB of memory of which 3.3 GB is available for your documents, built-in speakers, USB 2.0 cable to connect to your PC. 
  7. It weighs 18.9 ounces and measures 10.4″ by 7.2″ by 0.38″. The size does get in the way of holding it and carrying it conveniently.
  8. Sprint’s 3G network.
  9. Access to the Kindle Store and to Kindle WhisperNet.

It really is good value for money if you’re looking for a large screen eReader. Do note that it’s refurbished and not brand new.

Here’s what you miss out on by choosing Kindle DX US over Kindle DX 2 -

  1. The latest generation eInk Pearl screen which the Kindle DX 2 has. It has 50% better contrast.
  2. Faster speed. Page turns and the processor are slower on the Refurbished Kindle DX US. 
  3. Longer Battery Life. The newer Kindle DX lasts an entire week with wireless on and 2-3 weeks with wireless off. 
  4. The Graphite casing – The graphite color helps bring out the screen contrast more.
  5. Wireless coverage outside the US. If your home country is US the Kindle DX 2 gets free wireless coverage in over 100 countries outside the US.

Apart from the eInk Pearl screen and the faster processor there aren’t really any hugely significant differences. If you travel – the free wireless is a big deal.

After going through the Kindle DX 2 page in detail it’s clear that the refurbished Kindle DX US is a great deal at $220.

As long as you’re aware of what you’re giving up (eInk Pearl with 50% better contrast, faster page turns, faster processor, and wireless coverage outside the US) you’re unlikely to have any regrets. The refurbished Kindle DX US at $220 is a solid, solid option.

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