back to article Amazon tosses gelded Kindle at UK readers

Amazon has finally provided details for the International version of its Kindle ebook reader, but even the most diehard fan may be nonplussed to find one in their stocking this Christmas. In the USA the Kindle uses Sprint's CDMA network to host its Whispernet, but in the UK it's not clear which operator will be doing the heavy …


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  1. John Mangan

    Is the Reg getting a cut on Kindle sales?

    We seem to be wading through a glut of Kindle stories at the moment despite the fact that most reponses to the device appear to be 'meh' at best!

    (Obviously I'm not seriously questioning the Reg's editorial independence).

  2. Edwin


    Funny that the touchscreen is seen as the geek feature.

    Personally, I use my Sony only for books (not RSS or whatnot) and since a book will last me a few days, I don't mind hooking it up to my PC via a wire to add or remove content.

    For me, it's the wirelessness that's the geek feature.

    My money's on Sony. I ran into a Kindlista recently and was appalled at teh loss of real estate to the buttons, but all he could go on about was a quarter of a million books, which I believe I can beat on my PRS-500.

    If only Sony can get the advertising right.

  3. Grease Monkey

    At Least 20 Years Too Late

    I remember back in the 1980s there being lots of discussion about electronic books (possibly fueled by H2G2). These days is anybody really interested? Surely the only real market is the sad dweeb who has to have every gadget.

  4. Nick 22

    Connectivity through global roaming?

    Judging by this being a US distribution, my hunch is that wireless connectivity will be provided through global roaming, and not with a locally arranged contract with a UK operator. I'm sure the roaming data cost can be absorbed into the healthy margin on an eBook. This would explain why Blogs are not available.

  5. Robert Ramsay

    I'm Brian and so is my wife

    I'd like to state that I'm completely unexcited by this thing. Could we have the Apple Newton back instead?

  6. AF

    There isn't a UK operator

    It's a "US and international" Kindle - there is no specific UK operator, just like when you go over to the States your phone will work without you having to sign up with a US operator.

    Outside the US, the International-spec Kindle simply roams onto whatever network it can find. At a guess, the extra cost of the roaming data is included in the price of the book (which would explain why US customers have to pay extra when roaming outside the US, because their prices wouldn't include the extra charge - that's just a guess).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Errr, GSM only ?

    Various other web sources, including Amazon itself, seem to suggest that the international edition will use UMTS, possibly tied to AT&T's global coverage.

    (Big Brother, because of the 1984 retractions, obviously)

  8. Mike Richards

    Make or break

    Will be the store - the Sony store in the US is superb, their one in the UK through Waterstones is woeful. If Amazon can bring their entire catalogue to the UK then they win the battle even though the hardware is inferior to the competition.

    However, I suspect the book companies will force them to restrict the choice just as they have with Sony.

  9. Monkian

    But the only important issue here is:

    Bringing the physical Kindle to the UK might (finally) mean that the Kindle iPhone app will come to the UK app store.

    You know; allowing use of the Kindle store on a device that _can_ browse the net...

  10. censored

    It all comes down to content...

    You can have the best ereader, with the crispest display, the best price and the fastest and easiest delivery network ever created. But if you can't buy any books for it, what's the point?

    I logged onto the Sony Reader and Cool-er stores to find the six or seven books on my list to buy and read. They didn't have any.

    Amazon's Kindle had them all, including a couple of course textbooks and an relatively obscure memoir of a North Korean defector.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get the message, Amazon...

    ...No-one wants your device - it's too expensive, too inflexible and doesn't even begin to approach the needs of the market it claims to address. Give it up.

  12. Paul Charters

    What a pile of cr*p's a dreadful device...terribly expensive, technically poor, and just an excuse to sell!sell!sell! people stuff if they're actually dumb enough to buy one.

  13. Ian 11

    ...and you missed the most important part.

    You can currently only buy the UK version from Amazon's US site at meaning you'll get stung with hefty import duties. If you order one, expect to pay upwards of £30 on top of the price you pay once it arrives in the country.

    You'll also not be covered by UK consumer laws should it break and will be left with no recourse past the 1 year warranty Amazon US offers.

    Better to wait until is offering it, then you cant get screwed.

    Well, unless they do the $1 = £1 think most companies do.

  14. Steve Loughran

    Gobi? Get that working on linux and I'm happy

    The article complains that Kindle isnt running Gobi. I suspect why. I have a laptop with a gobi chipset in -do you think Linux can handle it? Nope. Do you think Qualcomm provide anything other than windows drivers? Not that I'm aware of. No, I can see why it got left out.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all the 'meh'-sayers ...

    The Kindle is actually a very cool piece of hardware. The display is wonderful. And I believe that in the near future people will read books using devices like the Kindle.

    However, most people, including me, will probably wait for them to get a lot cheaper, and I probably won't get one until I can get one that is open enough for me to be able to install my own software and my own content.

    But I'm glad some people are buying them now because someone has to fund the development of the technology.

  16. Neill Mitchell

    HMRC and Customs hasn't helped

    Paper books are zero VAT rated. But the crafty Revenue has classed eBooks as software and so liable.

    The funniest thing I see is the publishers trying to carry on is the hardback pricing. £16.99 for a "hardback" eBook. A few months later the exact same file is being sold at a "paperback" price. Get a grip.

    Until eBooks get substantially cheaper than the paper version they will continue to struggle. It's not as if it's the authors costs that is the major price factor either. They get a pretty small percentage. It's the publishers are just being greedy. You would have thought they would have learned something from the music industry (which let's face it is still pretty backward).

  17. Grease Monkey



    Another geeks only device if ever I saw one.


  18. david bates

    Having looked at a Sony e-reader....

    Im not tkaen with the lie that the display is like reading from paper.

    Its simply not. It might be like reading from the very, very cheapest of paperbacks - the sort that are made from pulped newsprint and fall apart as you turn the page, but even these have better font rendering than you'd get on any display.

    Even if they were giving them away I'd say 'no'. Besides, who ever heard about having a day out in Hay-on-Wye to buy second hand e-books?

  19. Rauf
    Thumb Up

    Gobi? WORKS on Linux - hope you are happy

    Gobi currently works on Linux- I have a laptop which runs on Linux and has Gobi

    Which laptop model do you have?


  20. Don S.

    No Kindle Luv

    It would appear that Canada has been lumped in with the likes of Pitcairn, Cuba and Iran.

    No Kindle for you!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just say NO to DRM

    Seriously, just don't buy any more frikkin' hardware which requires DRM. Maybe the morons will stop making up this stuff. When I spend my money on my stuff for me I expect myself to be able to do what I want to do with it.


  22. Simon Rockman

    It's not a geek device

    US sales have skewed significantly to older users. 55+. They like the ease of use and scalable fonts. And they don't care about the technology.


  23. Muscleguy Silver badge

    There is a market

    The obvious market is academia. E book readers are a godsend since journals went online with downloadable .pdf files at the end of the last decade. I have CDRs galore stuffed with pdf's. Only being a biologist I will wait for the colour versions as having a monochrome one will be like going back to the days of photocopying journal articles from the hardcopy in the library losing much information in the figures in the process. E book readers promise to dramatically reduce the amount of paper used in academia as pdf articles are hard to read online so they get printed out. The prospect of gaining space under and beside desks by kicking out filing cabinets filled with hard copy papers is also attractive.

    Books? at no reduction in price? please. The future is academic. So they are geek devices, just a different sort of geek.

  24. Anonymous Coward



    All i want is a gadget to read books/documents (in PDF preferably), whilst snug in bed or on the train, that isnt a laptop/netbook/lapnet/netlap or whatever.

    Is this possible, especially I am in a no mobile zone?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Premature profit taking

    I got a BeBook last November. it cost just over £110. I just want to read text - on a screen I can stick in a pocket and load files onto via an SD card.

    I do not want to pay double for bells and whistles I consider excessive at best and a serious vulnerability at worst - No way do I want my files so accessible they can be accessed/deleted because my supplier thinks they might have cocked up copyright.

    These marketing whizz kids are all drinking each others Kool Aid and forgetting what the market is asking for.

    I hate to say it, but Apple's iTablet just might do another iPhone if the competition is so determined to piss off their customers.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    News just in.

    @Ian 11

    Royal Mail have just lost the Amazon contract so you may need to revise those figures. Upwards probably.

  27. Winkypop Silver badge

    Kindle = new Segway

    No difference.


    I prefer the ancient "Book 1.0" thanks.

    No batteries, no contracts, no secret 'amendments...'

  28. stuartnz
    Thumb Down

    Oz gets it, Zild doesn't

    Another reason to wait for the Courier, I guess

  29. Tommy Pock

    Hey guys, electronic books!

    Also on offer this week, video calls! They're the future!

  30. Napalmnun

    Read the small print

    Not only is the Kindle shipped from the US, so you will be stung for VAT + Import Duties, it will be utilizing the "International Roaming" capability when you use this in the UK, so ALL book downloads are subject to an additional $1.99 charge for downloading them over GSM!

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Not interested at all.

    My book v1.0 can travel anywhere, last indefinatly, be easily packed without caring too much about damage, left in the hotel on holiday after I've finished for someone else to enjoy and if it gets wet through the bath, coffee, beach I don't care. Oh and it's £4 from Tesco/Asda/Sainsburys, so if i hate the story I don't mind too much either. And I tend to buy then return them to charity shops after I've finished with them if I'm at home, so a charity gets some value out of them.

    Sure ereaders are more portable than a library of books, but if your reading for pleasure the feel of a book is far better. I tried the Sony in Waterstones, Just found it slow to move around, and as has been said eBooks cost more than the paper versions, can't be passed on and so why bother.

    That said the best market would be field enginners who need access to a lot of tech manuals, but lets face it they carry about toughbooks so they already have that capability.

    Nice gadget looking for a niche.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    All expense ePaper junk

    ePaper is junk, it is way too expensive, monochrome, and uses more power than other low power displays, like OLED, for each frame change. so useless for animation/video; also all current eBooks have pathetic storage capacity, and most lack SDHC support.

    Haven't these muppets heard of colour publications; not all books contain just words, and many maps are unusable without colour.

    I wonder why mp3 players became popular? Was it because I could play one album at a time, like cassette/CD players? NO! It was because I gained the capacity to could carry several albums, even my entire collection of albums, so all I had to do was add new albums and make play lists, no more albums inaccessible at home.

    Give me a rugged, sub-£100 Colour OLED device with expandable storage, and a 10" touchscreen, so that they can be used as casually as shown in Star Trek TNG etc, and I'd probably buy several! The device I describe could even do double-duty as a 'frame' for an image or document, or as a notice.

    For now I'll carry on carrying and using my MUCH CHEAPER, and more capable, 10" 'netbook'.

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