Kindles are available to order for US$279 (A$313) from the Amazon website now and will begin shipping from 19 October. Amazon’s director of merchandising Laura Porco is scheduled to run a demonstration of the device in Sydney on Monday 26 October. An Amazon spokesperson told WBN that it had ‘not been confirmed as yet whether [books from] Australian publishers will be available’ to read on the device.
CNET Australia provides some technical details:
The reader can either download books via USB or by 3G or 2G wireless, without any mobile contracts … but the spokesperson could not give any information on which carrier had been selected.
A spokesperson for VHA said it hadn’t signed a deal with the bookseller. Telstra has yet to respond to queries. Optus said it “had nothing to confirm”. On the site, however, it is possible to check wireless coverage that the device will access, which seems to be quite extensive.
The device weighs around a third of a kilo and is 203.2mm by 134.6mm by 9.1mm. It has 2GB internal storage, with around 1.4GB available for user content, which Amazon says will store up to 1500 books. With one charge, the reader will operate for up to four days.
What’s that loud thump? you ask. That would be the Amazon monopoly crashing into our shores.
Personally, I’m cheap and the price point isn’t low enough for me to buy the Kindle. I’m also not a fan of Amazon’s heavily discounted and loss-leading pricing strategies. But I know a lot of readers who will be excited by this news, and I have to admit that it’s tempting to own a Kindle and be one of the cool ebook reading people.
In any case, I hope the Kindle gives a much-needed boost to Australia’s dismal ebook market by forcing the other products/retailers to increase their marketing efforts, and by encouraging publishers to release locally published books in a digital format.
The Bookseller+Publisher article quotes Don Grover, CEO of Dymocks, on some possible implications on the local ebook market. Basically, Grover thinks the ebook market won’t grow unless Australians have access to good content.
I’ll be interested to see if Amazon makes inroads into our local ebook market where Dymocks has not. (Because I think Dymocks’s strategy was flawed and didn’t really understand its target market.) It’ll also be interesting to see if the other ebook readers used by Australians—Sony eReader, Hanlin/BeBook, Cybook, Iliad—will be muscled out by Amazon, or if they’ll benefit from the overall increased awareness of ebooks.
This is a very interesting development in Australia’s book market, given that the parallel import restrictions are still under review. I don’t have any insider knowledge about anything, so I’m going to use this post to link to articles covering the Kindle’s international release. Watch this space!
Click here to pre-order the Kindle from Amazon. The product ships on October 19.
I’ll add links as I find them, and the newest will be at the bottom of the list. (Thanks to @OzAlleyCat for the help!)
- Amazon Kindle Now for Sale to Customers in More Than 100 Countries (Amazon)
- Kindle available to Australia (Bookseller+Publisher) — Quotes from Dymocks CEO regarding availablity of ebooks in Australia
- Amazon’s Kindle comes to Oz (CNET Australia) — Technical details regarding WiFi and specs
- Amazon’s Kindle heading for Australia (SMH) — Strangely devoid of any questions pertaining to the local market
- Kindle To Be Sold To Australian Customers (Lifehacker Australia) — Around 200,000 titles available for download, 3G coverage but provider hasn’t been confirmed
- Amazon launches the Kindle worldwide, UK store to follow (Bookseller.com) — Details on UK publishers who will make books available for Kindle
- Amazon Lowers Price on #1 Bestseller Kindle to $259 and Introduces New Addition to the Kindle Family of Wireless Reading Devices-Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless (Amazon)
- And here comes the Kindle (Rachael’s Ramble) — Goes into more detail on the hash Dymocks made of marketing their ebook offerings
- Kindle Gets Cheaper, Travels Internationally (Technologizer) — Kindle will have US interface, no local models yet
- Kindle comes to Oz! (The Book is Dead) — Questions, questions, so many questions…
- Kindle coming to Australia (bookbook blog) — Excellent post to counter all the WOOHOO-ing on the Kindle. Not sure points on PIR are correct (will update this when I find out more) but I agree with Charlie’s assessment of what the Kindle is and what it isn’t:
The Kindle has been widely hailed as heralding a reading revolution but what it’s actually heralded is a bookselling revolution…Amazon really ought to be paying you to own one not the other way round.
- Tax headache looms for UK Kindle buyers (Times Online) — Covers the UK release of the Kindle, but it’s worth reading because I think some of the issues are things we ought to be thinking about in Australia. What about the GST, for example? I don’t think it’s fair for Amazon to bypass our tax laws when every local bookshop has to charge GST.
- Amazon Kindle Available to International Customers (MonkeyBear Reviews) — Not Australia-specific, but raises salient points about being an international Kindle user
- Amazon Kindle International Fail??? (MonkeyBear Reviews) — No way to know what books are no geo restricted until you’ve already bought the Kindle
- Kindle not the book’s iPod moment (Crikey) — “If an e-reader user wants to experience all the frustrations that currently exist in the market for an Australian e-book provider they should buy a Kindle now,” says Australian Booksellers Association CEO. PIR shouldn’t be an issue, but Amazon restricts sales to Australia. (I’ve always wondered about geo restrictions for Australia—the PIR provision for one-off customer special orders that should allow Australians to buy ebooks published overseas—but I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of why it’s happening.)
- Kindle Goes International — With a Little Help From AT&T (Wired) — Sheds light on how Amazon is getting around the issue of geo restrictions. Basically, they made deals with English-language publishers to pay royalties to the print rights holder in the country of purchase.
- International Kindle comparison table (Blog Kindle)
- Kindle in bad books as Aussies hit with higher costs (SMH) — Kindle ebooks will cost more for non-US readers due to roaming fees associated with Amazon’s WiFi deal with AT&T. The Australian Society of Authors is advising members to resist the Kindle push because profits are going to Amazon, and not to publishers or authors.
- Kindle opens a new chapter in publishing (SMH) — Questions regarding availability of titles for Australian Kindle users, and a very quick round-up of alternative ereaders
- Amazon Kindle International – publishers screw readers again (TeleRead) — Skim through the actual post and read the comments. As @Tim_Coronel pointed out, questions about rights ownership should be directed at agents and authors more than publishers.
- Kindle available to Australia (follow-up article, Bookseller+Publisher) — Geo restrictions will apply to Australian Kindle users, and few of the books available are new or local books. What right to publishers have to restrict foreign ebook sales when Australian parallel import restrictions allow legal purchases foreign print book editions as special orders? Lonely Planets is the only confirmed local publisher to have agreement with Amazon, although Simon & Schuster plans to have local ebooks for Kindle by Christmas.