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Old 10-07-2009, 12:54 PM   #1
iMaculate
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Kindle International Edition: second thoughts

I ordered the Amazon Kindle this morning after hearing the news of the international edition (I live in Germany). I mainly read English books.

Now I am having second thoughts about my decision. First of all, I did a check and found out that the majority of the books (all English) that I purchased recently from Amazon are not available at all. These are not obscure books, mind you - many of them are not older than a couple of years. For example: American Prometheus - a biography of Robert Oppenheimer, is not available to international Kindle users, but can be purchased in the US. The same holds true for the latest Dan Brown novel (The Lost Symbol).

I know there are international rights issues involved but can someone tell me in clear words why I can legally buy the print versions of the above mentioned books and have them shipped to me here in Germany, but am unable to purchase the Kindle versions? Am I missing something here?

The same problem with magazines: the highly regarded weekly UK magazine "The Economist" is available as a Kindle version in the US but not in Germany. Why? I have been subscribing to the print edition since 10 years here. And if I do order, e.g., Technology Review, I would not be able to view any illustrations, it's text only (read in fine print "Newspapers and magazines delivered outside the US will not include photos and other images"). That really degrades the convenience of a digital edition. It's almost outrageous.

There are other limitations: I follow a number of blogs using my iPhone, but would be unable to read them using the Kindle here. And, of course, I am not able to order ANY German language books, which seems quite odd for someone living here.

So my initial euphoria has subsided a bit. I have recently been eyeing the Sony Reader, which is an open platform (ePub and PDF), compared with the Kindle. The many advatages of its wireless capabilities are stymied almost completely making the Sony Reader a viable option.

What do you think, should I retract my order?
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by iMaculate View Post
I know there are international rights issues involved but can someone tell me in clear words why I can legally buy the print versions of the above mentioned books and have them shipped to me here in Germany, but am unable to purchase the Kindle versions? Am I missing something here?
It's a legal technicality. When you buy a print book, the "point of sale" is deemed to be the bookstore. When you buy an eBook, the point of sale is the customer's PC. Hence, if the customer is in a country for which the US publisher does not have distribution rights, they can buy the print book (because that's legally being sold "in the USA"), but they can't buy the eBook.

Yes, it's stupid, but you did ask, and that is the reason.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:00 PM   #3
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You might as well take advantage of the 30-day trial and see if you like it or not first. And you've got to remember that this is just the beginning; more options are likely to become available over time.
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Old 10-07-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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I posted this message in the other Kindle thread:

If all the books of the USA Kindle store would be available, I would be interested, in spite of the Kindle DRM and the fact that there are probably better e-readers out there.
I have looked at some authors at Fictonwise and the European Kindle store. And most books that are USA-only at Fictionwise, are also not available at the European Kindle store. So why should I limit myself to the Amazon Kindle format, when that offers less choice then buying a Sony/Cybook/Bebook?
A missed chance by Amazon
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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I've read all the comments, all the articles etc. I guess what I am not understanding is WHY they can't do it in Canada and why they are so reluctant to explain the reason to us. If Rogers is the problem, who can we write to there? If Sprint is the problem, who can we write too? I would just like to know what the hold-up is.
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It's a legal technicality. When you buy a print book, the "point of sale" is deemed to be the bookstore. When you buy an eBook, the point of sale is the customer's PC. Hence, if the customer is in a country for which the US publisher does not have distribution rights, they can buy the print book (because that's legally being sold "in the USA"), but they can't buy the eBook.

Yes, it's stupid, but you did ask, and that is the reason.
Yes, very stupid. But the most astounding thing is that it is not as if the government made up these silly laws which constrain the publishers from making money (in much the same way that environmental regulations constrain industry from making even more money). It is the publishers THEMSELVES that make up this absurd "law". I do not see how they gain from this self-restraint in selling ebooks vs. print.
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Old 10-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ficbot View Post
I guess what I am not understanding is WHY they can't do it in Canada and why they are so reluctant to explain the reason to us.
My guess is that Rogers wanted too much money, so Amazon is going to wait for Bell, see Bell HSPA to allow AT&T roaming, due in fall. I don't think it is that unusual that Amazon won't say, particularly if they are hoping Rogers gets a clue. Ebooks are not a large data load (i.e. don't require infrastructure upgrades) so, essentially, this is free money for whichever mobile provider signs up.
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Old 10-07-2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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A missed chance by Amazon
Amazon doesn't have the power to unilaterally rework publishing contracts. If they don't have the rights to sell a book, they can't. Other stores are less rigorous about verifying where you live. They can get away with that by being small. Amazon has deep pockets and would be painting a big old target on their back if they were lax about such things. Hopefully getting into the market will encourage more publishers to work things out from the contract end. It's disappointing how many books they can offer right now but I don't think that's going to change if big sellers don't get into the market. I see it more as an investment in the future than a missed chance. After all, they didn't have that many books in the US Kindle store when they started and look at how it's grown.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:07 PM   #9
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Amazon doesn't have the power to unilaterally rework publishing contracts. If they don't have the rights to sell a book, they can't. Other stores are less rigorous about verifying where you live. They can get away with that by being small. Amazon has deep pockets and would be painting a big old target on their back if they were lax about such things. Hopefully getting into the market will encourage more publishers to work things out from the contract end. It's disappointing how many books they can offer right now but I don't think that's going to change if big sellers don't get into the market. I see it more as an investment in the future than a missed chance. After all, they didn't have that many books in the US Kindle store when they started and look at how it's grown.
What I meant by missed chance that at least here in Europe there is now no reason to buy a Kindle which only lets you buy Kindle DRM books at the Amazon store.
In Europe you are better of with one of the new e-readers that support ePub, so you do not depend on one store.
I would only buy a Kindle here in Europe, and accept the Amazon only DRM, if it would give me a lot more choice in books than other e-readers.
But now readers like the new Sony ones give you nicer hardware (at least in my opinion) and more choice in books.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:12 PM   #10
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Steig Larsson's new book "the girl who kicked the hornets nest" is available for kindle and is available for download to Aus at half the cost of the print version here, which is interesting given his earlier books are geographically restricted. Also the e-book version is not available in any other store that I have checked. Actually one of those rare occasions where I actually bought the print version.

I am hoping the availability of this book for the Australian market indicates that Amazon due to their size are able to negotiate better availability for the Australian market.
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Old 10-07-2009, 05:49 PM   #11
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But now readers like the new Sony ones give you nicer hardware (at least in my opinion) and more choice in books.
I'm not that familiar with their system. How are they circumventing the geographical restrictions?
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:14 PM   #12
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I'm not that familiar with their system. How are they circumventing the geographical restrictions?
Good question, are people circumventing it? Has anyone created hacks so that for all intents and purposes Amazon thinks you are in the US when you purchase an ebook via the Kindle so you escape the $1.99 fee?
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:20 PM   #13
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Good question, are people circumventing it? Has anyone created hacks so that for all intents and purposes Amazon thinks you are in the US when you purchase an ebook via the Kindle so you escape the $1.99 fee?
The fee will be charged once Amazon sees the bill from the Wireless company with a roaming charge. It is not for geographic circumvention.

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Old 10-08-2009, 12:08 AM   #14
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Amazon doesn't have the power to unilaterally rework publishing contracts.
Well, it dosn't seem to have stopped google...

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Old 10-08-2009, 01:38 AM   #15
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Good question, are people circumventing it? Has anyone created hacks so that for all intents and purposes Amazon thinks you are in the US when you purchase an ebook via the Kindle so you escape the $1.99 fee?
I don't think a hack will be required, unless Amazon changes its system for the International version.

• You purchase the book
• Sign into "My Account"
• Go to "Manage My Kindle"
• Scroll down to "My Orders," find the title, alter the drop-down box that says "Deliver to" and select "Transfer Via My Computer"

This downloads the file to your PC, which you can then transfer to the Kindle via USB cable.
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