Amazon Kindle in Japan

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    Amazon.com has announced that they will be releasing an international version of their Kindle e-book reader in 100 countries, including Japan:

    The move, announced on Tuesday, gives the world’s largest online retailer the widest global reach among its competitors, including chief rival Sony Corp.

    The Kindle will sell for $279 in other countries.

    Amazon also announced it would cut prices for its U.S.-only Kindle by 13 percent to $259 from $299, bringing its cost closer to its rivals. The new price is $100 lower than it was a year ago. [Update: It's now even cheaper!]


    Amazon — which regards the Kindle as a pivotal growth driver — said over 200,000 English-language books from a host of publishers as well as over 85 international and U.S. newspapers and magazines would be available on the international device, which begins shipping October 19.

    “Our vision for Kindle is every book ever printed, in print or out of print, in every language, all available within 60 seconds,” Chief Executive Jeff Bezos told Reuters.

    Japan Kindle Wireless

    The International Kindle will use 3G Wireless for book downloads. The wireless map on the product page shows that almost all of Japan is covered for 3G access. Other conditions for Japan include:

    • Books in Under 60 Seconds: Think of a book and you could be reading it in under a minute
    • Free Wireless: Free 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle. No monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots. See Coverage Map.
    • Large Selection: Over 280,000 English-language books to choose from; plus U.S. and international newspapers and magazines
    • Low Book Prices: New York Times® Best Sellers and New Releases are $11.99, unless marked otherwise. You’ll also find many books for less – over 100,000 titles are priced under $5.99
    • Amazon.co.jp customers will need to register on Amazon.com in order to purchase Kindle.
    • Your international shipment is subject to customs duties, import taxes and other fees levied by the destination country. We will show you these fees upon checkout.
    • Kindle ships with a U.S. power adapter and a micro-USB cable for charging your Kindle via a computer USB port. The U.S. power adapter supports voltages between 100V – 240V.
    • You can transfer personal documents to your Kindle via USB for free at anytime. Service fees for transferring personal documents via Whispernet are currently $.99 per megabyte. Learn more
    • Wireless download times can vary based on 3G or EDGE/GPRS coverage, signal strength and file size.
    • Kindle books, newspapers, and magazine are currently priced and sold in United States dollars

    Judging from the requirement that customers have to sign up for Amazon.com to purchase the Kindle, it looks like their target, at least for now, consists of English-speakers. A Nikkei news article mentions that Amazon is thinking about deals with Japanese book publishers, but details have yet to emerge.

    As a happy Kindle 2 owner, I welcome this expansion. Amazon’s move will no doubt encourage more publishers to make their books available in digital format, which will make life easier for those of us who hate the mark-ups and the lack of selection one usually encounters when buying English language books in non-English-speaking countries.

    Related post: Tips for buying English books in Japan.

    This post was updated in Summer 2010 to include links to the newest versions of the Kindle. I still very satisfied with how my original Kindle 2 U.S. version, but I might also get one of the new international wireless Kindle DX units, since they are ideal for PDF reading.

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