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Old 10-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #1
Snorkledorf
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Kindle Released in Japan!

Kindles just went on sale at Amazon.co.jp in Japan! With vertical text and everything, yay!

The lineup is limited to the Paperwhite, Fire, and 7” Fire HD. No vanilla Kindle, Kindle Keyboard, or 8.9” Fire HD (small is big in Japan). Also, there aren’t any special-offer editions.
  • Paperwhite: JPY ¥8,480 (USD $105.60)
  • Paperwhite 3G: ¥12,980 ($161.70)
  • Fire: ¥12,800 ($159.40)
  • Fire HD 7” 16GB: ¥15,800 ($196.80)
  • Fire HD 7” 32GB: ¥19,800 ($246.60)

Unusually for Japan, the prices look very comparable to the “real” prices in the US, accounting for which prices sound good over here (for some reason 8’s are popular…) and currency fluctuations.

I ordered a PW after work, and the shipping date had already dropped back a couple of weeks from the initial-unit ship date.


Now the big question is whether Amazon Japan can convince the local publishers to actually release more than the trickle of ebooks that are currently available for the other e-readers like Sony and Rakuten’s Kobo.

The welcome letter on the top page from Jeff Bezos (one presumes he didn’t actually write it in Japanese…) says they’ll sell 1.4 million books to start off with, of which only 50,000 are in Japanese. And 10,000 of those are free classics like Natsume Souseki and Miyazawa Kenji. So 40,000 “real” books total at the moment.


Questions that come to mind:
  1. Can the Japanese PW display its UI in English?
  2. The PW-J apparently has 2 fonts (vs 6 for the US version). Does that mean for English books too? That would kind of suck. My KK already has 3, so that'd actually be a step down. But the Sony PRS-T1 only has a single font, so it's at least better than that! (Japanese fonts are admittedly rather large to stuff into limited on-board memory.)
  3. How does the hardware differ from a non-Japanese PW, if at all? Like what about those fonts? Can a non-Japanese PW even display Japanese text? Vertically? Whether side-loaded or via personal docs or whatever? Has anyone tried this?
  4. Will our favorite muppet-alien be able to liberate the Japanese books like he does with books sold in English? If so, then Amazon Japan’s going to be making so much money off of me that it’s not even funny. I might as well just slit my wrists, one for dot-com and one for dot-jp…
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:56 PM   #2
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I'm most curious about whether I can buy books across different Amazon stores. I'm Canadian, use a US account at the moment to get books into my Kindle, but can I grab books from the Japanese store?
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:26 PM   #3
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Thank for information, I also have some questions?
1) it will start shipping at Dec 2?
2) I think there are some built-in japanese dictionary, can we add some english or european language?
3) since the amazon.co.jp and amazon.com account are separated, then how can we manage books from both of them (Do they both have DRM lock?, Do we need to change user every time to read it?)
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Old 10-25-2012, 01:28 PM   #4
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Yeah, just change the location setting to Japan in manage your kindle page. After you have purchased the book, change it back.... .... Or just visit the jp store and see if you can buy the books without changing the location...
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:09 PM   #5
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Reviewing for my own benefit since I'm trying to figure this out myself: The store you're allowed to use is based on your address. Amazon isn't actually all that strict about it (unlike e.g. iTunes), but due to different distributors having paid for the rights to certain books only in certain territories, you're not actually supposed to use multiple stores. Unless you have multiple residences or something, I guess. There's certainly no official support from Amazon for a multi-store scenario because that'd make all their publishers mad.

If you're a Canadian with a US Amazon account buying the Japanese translation of Hunger Games...which publisher would get paid?

An Amazon.com account is almost certainly not going to have official access to Amazon.co.jp books, so just switching your residence in your account page won't make the Japanese content appear. They're ultimately two different stores.


I'm wondering myself about how to wrangle content from multiple stores. My current idea is just to keep one Kindle tied to one store, and side-load all the de-DRM'ed books that I've bought from the other store as personal docs.

I could just side-load them directly from calibre, but that kinda defeats the purpose of the Kindle's ability to sync books and annotations between all your devices.

They'll certainly be DRM-locked, but we'll have to wait and see if the existing tools will work as-is or not.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:30 AM   #6
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I chatted with Amazon customer support. They suggested to migrate your book when you buy from different store, and if you want to come back just migrate it again. Since I never have kindle myself, I just curious how exactly the migration process done.
1. transfer content between different store (which you will lose ownership from original store unless you migrate back again)
2. just allow to download content from different store (in this case, if we switch account we suppose not be able to read from different store content?)


And I just wonder about English UI and dictionary in japanese version of Kindle PW.
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:51 AM   #7
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I'd never heard of "migrating" one's books/account between stores before, but there are several threads about it at MobileRead. Sounds like an interesting option.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:08 AM   #8
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Any chance you could link me, couldn't find anything relevant with a quick google. The other thing is, has anyone been successful ordering books with a foreign credit card yet? I know Amazon.com is pretty flexible when it comes to their video games, ebooks, but music is locked down and takes a few more hoops to go through.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:19 PM   #9
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Took a quick spin on a VPN today, Amazon.co.jp accepted my Canadian credit card just fine provided I use a fake Japanese address. I bought one manga and one light novel which both came in azw3 format. Calibre accepted it just fine, stripped the DRM and it all works great. My Japanese is hardly good enough to make use of the Japanese-Japanese dictionary that is built in, so here's hoping that a Japanese-English dictionary comes out soon.
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