Amazon Kindle Available Worldwide*

Apparently Vodafone NZ is in “deep discussion” with Amazon about carrying the Kindle in New Zealand. The last time someone said “deep discussion” was Telecom talking about bringing the iPhone to their XT network. We all know how well that went.

NotNewZealand*for certain definitions of “Worldwide”.

Amazon just put out a press release, with the great news that their acclaimed electronic book reader – the Kindle – is now available “around the world”. Wonderful news!

But wait. If you go to this page, and click on the handy link titled “Click here to see important information specific to your country”, things start to get a little funky. Let’s run through a few countries to check availability:

  • Australia? Yep.
  • France? Oui!
  • Fiji? Io. Bula!
  • Mongolia? Ummmm, yes.
  • Guinea-Bissau? Sim!
  • New Zealand? Yeah nah. Sorry.

What the heck is going on here? Either there is a serious omission by Amazon, or some nameless publication rights holder has put a spanner in the works. Unfortunately my money is on the latter. Perhaps Brian Edwards has got in someone’s ear?

Stay tuned while I attempt to get to the bottom of this.

Update: Here’s a thought: the Kindle requires a 3G data connection, and Amazon likes the data to be free to users. New Zealand carriers are rather expensive when it comes to mobile data. Perhaps Amazon couldn’t reach an agreement with a local carrier?
Update 2: Ok that’s not it. Fiji gets the Kindle with no mobile partner, requiring a USB connection to a PC to update ebooks. Secondly, Simon Lieschke has quite helpfully scraped the country availability data from Amazon into one long list.

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24 Comments

  1. My money’s on their PR people just lumping NZ in with Australia because they’re the same country right?

    But seriously that sucks. Fuck you Amazon. I’ve been waiting for a decent eInk system to arrive on our shores for as long as the technology has been around.

    Road trip to Australia anybody?

  2. I want to know what sort of technology disease (or is that copyright disease?) we have in NZ that leads to ommissions like this. As a PS3 owner we’re already disadvantaged with no PlayTV or Vidzone. Now Amazon are jumping on the screw NZ bandwagon. I believe we’ve spotted REAL reason for the NZ brain drain, it’s nothing to do with money at all, it’s the lack of cool gadgets!

  3. The B&N Nook looked nice I admit. Although has anybody tried the Foxit eSlick? It's at the same price point but it's sold internationally (they ship to NZ for $29usd), it understands PDFs and doesn't seem encumbered with DRM?

  4. Perhaps part of the problem is that publishers and/or ebook retailers have geographic rights restrictions to NZ for most books? Not much point in supplying an ebook reader if the actual ebooks aren't allowed to be sold here.

    It's all a bit stupid really. NZ is a progressive country in a lot of ways. Not with ebooks, apparently.

  5. Not many; certainly not popular, modern ebooks. Unless you have a credit card with a US billing address.

  6. Update: Now available via iTunes App Store is Amazon's Kindle for iPhone app and, magically, it seems that it's possible to purchase ebooks in NZ from Amazon without worry of geographic rights restrictions. Woop!

  7. And Amazon just announced "worldwide" availability of the larger Kindle DX, including "worldwide" free mobile wireless.

    Not including New Zealand of course.

    Sigh.

  8. Yup, just saw that too. Half the fun would be in downloading, anywhere, without needing to have or pay for a wifi connection. Hmph. The device itself is very big though, not exactly a handy wee portable device.

    And I was wrong about there not being geo restrictions from Amazon, I was just getting prematurely excited. They let you download the first book in a series then when you get hooked and go to buy the next, oops sorry, no we can’t let you have that one, because you live in New Zealand.

    Move to Norfolk Island, they’re more advanced.

  9. Oddly enough a work mate bought his wife Kindle recently and swears it works fine via 3G in New Zealand? He’s purchased books via the Amazon service without a hitch?

    I’m mystified as to why that would even work? Global roaming? What?

  10. @Stu at a guess, the Kindle must have a SIM card in it that is registered to Amazon. I presume they’re just being billed and swallowing the data charges somewhere.

    How big would an e-book be? A couple of hundred kB at best?

  11. I believe that's how it works yes, but then if Amazon can't tell a global roaming Kindle sim card is in New Zealand, why the hell can't they just bloody sell Kindles here?

    This is a US Kindle running in New Zealand without any problems. I wonder if the service will eventually notice the global roaming charges originating from NZ against the Kindle SIM and disable it?

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