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Kindle Finally Ready For Global Distribution

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-enough-people-in-the-us-read-books dept.

Handhelds 145

geirnord writes "Previously a US-only device, the Amazon Kindle 2 is now finally available in an international edition. The new device is identical to the Kindle 2, with the exception of Edge and 3G support. That means Whispernet-like functionality over most of the world." Reader pasm notes a report at The Guardian which points out higher ebook prices for international Kindle users. "When asked by the Guardian precisely how much downloads would cost, an Amazon.co.uk spokesman revealed that foreign customers — including those in Britain — would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title." The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

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145 comments

VAT Rates (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703833)

The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

You don't have enough action points.

Re:VAT Rates (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29703995)

VAT mode sucks cock anyway. real men learn2aim.

Re:VAT Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704043)

No real men use the DK_bullettime mod. more fun that way.

Re:VAT Rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704173)

Real men chop wood [youtube.com]

goatse! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29703839)

cmdrtaco's ass has been globally distributed for years, if you get my drift.

Re:goatse! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29703941)

cmdrtaco's ass has been globally distributed

Most recently in Africa, it seems...

Except Canada... (2, Informative)

robbrit (1408421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703859)

To the other Canadians out there: we won't be getting it, according to the Globe and Mail:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/why-you-cant-get-the-kindle-in-canada/article1316081/ [theglobeandmail.com]

I guess I'll have to get it shipped in from Burundi or Sri Lanka instead.

Re:Except Canada... (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704391)

screw amazon. They've ignored us Canucks too long for us to care about them anymore. I wouldn't buy a Kindle even if I could.

Not in Canada (4, Informative)

Tridus (79566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703863)

It's available all over the world, but not in Canada.

According to the Globe and Mail, that is because until next month, there is only one network in Canada capable of carrying it (Rogers). In November, Bell and Telus will also be capable of carrying it.

We'll see.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/telecom-competition-behind-kindle-delay/article1317633/ [theglobeandmail.com]

Re:Not in Canada (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704049)

Yeah, I was really hoping to get one for Christmas, so this pretty much sucks. If it's not out by December, I'll probably get a Sony eBook reader (yes, Sony is evil, but I like their products, and I have a high tolerance for evil.) or buy a Kindle off eBay.

For those who know better than I, if I buy an American Kindle off eBay, how well will it work in Canada? Will I be able to buy the ebooks off the American store (with a Canadian CC) and just load them with USB, or will the DRM cause me too many problems?

Basically, I'm wondering if anyone knows which will be a better option, a Sony Reader or an eBayed American Kindle if it comes to that.

(Please don't turn this into a DRM flamefest, I know DRM is evil, but I put up with it if the product's good enough.)

Re:Not in Canada (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704233)

how well will it work in Canada?

I am not a Canadian, but I wouldn't count on the product working well, given that Amazon suppresses digital content to anybody they don't happen to care for. Australia currently falls into this category; digital copies of books are unavailable where Amazon is perfectly happy to sell you a dead-tree version.

I happen to prefer the latter, but for some texts, it would be nice to forego the exorbitant US freight costs.

Re:Not in Canada (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704275)

how well will it work in Canada?

I am not a Canadian, but I wouldn't count on the product working well, given that Amazon suppresses digital content to anybody they don't happen to care for. Australia currently falls into this category; digital copies of books are unavailable where Amazon is perfectly happy to sell you a dead-tree version.

I happen to prefer the latter, but for some texts, it would be nice to forego the exorbitant US freight costs.

To be fair, I really doubt it's that they have an axe to grind against Australians. More likely is some annoying conflicts with Australian laws, publishers, organisations and/or cell phone companies. It really wouldn't be a smart decision to not release content to Australia because a dingo ate Bezos' baby or he was molested by a Kangaroo or something.

Same as Canada. I'm sure they want to have my money, but are either waiting for our (terrible) phone companies to stop sucking, or some conflict with Canadian publishers or laws. (For all I know, my country probably has some law forcing ebooks to have 30% "Canadian Content" or something equally stupid.)

Re:Not in Canada (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704465)

I'm not under any illusion that Amazon has any animus against Australia or Rwanda or even Elbonia for that matter. But attempting to enforce local/global laws and taxes on global/local products is becoming increasingly counter-productive. Nobody gets to buy what they want, and since they can't buy it, they can't be taxed on it.

Nobody wins.

Re:Not in Canada (1)

stasike (1063564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704819)

You are wrong.
I bet Canada is forcing Amazon to translate all the English books to French and display English text on one half of screen and French translation on the other half ;-)

Of course, French books sold in Quebec won't have to be translated into English.

Re:Not in Canada (1)

masmullin (1479239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704507)

The Sony 505 is very good, its got the best screen in the business. Im very pleased I bought one a month ago. I dont want the wireless crap.

I purchased my first book from the online sonystore two weeks ago... it was a special deal for $1 (Devices & Desires by KJ Parker... pretty good read).

Re:Not in Canada (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704615)

The American Store might not allow a Canadian CC. I would get the Sony IF a Canadian Kindle isn't out by the time you want one and you might hold off till after Christmas for sales around New Years.

Re:Not in Canada (1)

kaiidth (104315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706109)

I have a Sony eBook reader, bought in the US a few months ago. I worried that it would be something I'd use for a few weeks and then drop, but it turns out that there are a lot of uses for something that has a battery life of several thousand pages and can read various open formats (PDF especially).

Back when I picked it up I did a comparison of the two possibilities, and to my own surprise -- sharing your viewpoint that typically Sony are evil -- it turned out that for the uses I intended to make of the device, the Sony was a far better option. The wireless stuff was unnecessary under the circumstances, and the Sony device has good compatibility (amazingly), reads some standard formats (amazingly) and is well- built. So much so that I've even dropped it four feet onto a marble floor and it has survived, which for eInk is surprising. Only one minor caveat: for me, a Sony memory stick worked better by far than an SDHC.

Re:Not in Canada (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704223)

It's available all over the world, but not in Canada.

True.

According to the Globe and Mail, that is because until next month, there is only one network in Canada capable of carrying it (Rogers). In November, Bell and Telus will also be capable of carrying it.

Typical crappy reporting by the Globe and Mail. It is true that the new "global" kindle is a gsm device, and there is only one gsm operator in Canada (rogers).

BUT, the US Kindle is NOT A GSM DEVICE. The US Kindle is a CDMA device. There are two CDMA operators in Canada, Bell and Telus.

Amazon could easily bring the CDMA version to Canada.

Not only does Canuckistan suffer from the crappiest wireless service in the OECD, and pay the highest prices for wireless service in the OECD, we also have some of the crappiest reporting about wireless service.

For non-Canadian wondering why this is the case, Canadian law for decades has said that only Canadian companies may operate a telecom network, so big foreign operators like Vodaphone & T-Mobile aren't allowed in.

And the previous Liberal government of Canada allowed 2 of the large players to purchase their rivals, leaving Canadians with 3 cell phone carriers who don't compete very much with each other. Why should they?

Re:Not in Canada (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705909)

To me, it's simply amazing that it take a company like amazon even brings this out, and I cheer them for it. Finally something that caters to the world outside the US (sometime companies pretend it doesn't exist) and more importantly for me, international travelers especially without being raped. If this is like the US version, no monthly fees even!

OTOH, you can't even take your cell phone with you internationally where some peope would need it most, without being screwed by outrageous voice/data rates:
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/international/roaming/affordable-world-packages.jsp#1 [att.com]

And if you look at the charge list, it's 1st world countries like Great Britain or Germany that start at $1.00 minute and up, others being much more expensive. Once you make more than 20 minutes of calls in any 1st worlder country, it's cheaper to chuck your cell phone and get a prepaid one there.

And the data rates. Somehow Amazon negotiated a good deal around the world but our telecoms can't:/ A $1 per megabyte is the cheapest mass rate at $200/month.

VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (4, Informative)

meehawl (73285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703865)

Under the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 [europa.eu] , the suggested EU VAT rate for books (and children's nappies!) is the reduced rate of 5%. Many countries, such as Ireland, the UK, and Poland, for example, have charged zero percent VAT on books [ebf-eu.org] for years. Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (4, Interesting)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703925)

I also wonder how many times you'll be able to download a book you have purchased.
Some Kindle books have secret caps on the number of times you can download them. [boingboing.net]
Kindle’s DRM [geardiary.com] .

If these stories are true then the Kindle is, in my eyes, nothing but a rip-off.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

geirnord (150896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704127)

For me, at least, is this not a topic of interest.

I treat all DRM-encumbered purchases as an extended rent/lease agreement. Books (and music) tend to be one-off items for me, except in a few extraordinary cases. In these cases I prefer the special/ultimate/extended/uncut/annotated edition, and purchase the physical object anyway.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703993)

I wonder how much operating costs would be. Is the internet is the wireless net in Britain really a lot more expensive? They do realize that shipping a product online has the same operating costs anywhere on the earth... since you can do it from anywhere in the Earth. The whole thing is total BS.

I think the real reason is, Europeans are used to taking it in the ass from electronics industries why not do that too? Yay +40% on anything that includes a chip for no reason... apparently on files now too.

"I think the real reason is..." (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704175)

...that it is their product and they can set the price wherever the hell they want to. You don't have buy their stuff if you don't want to.

Re:"I think the real reason is..." (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704285)

That's fine. But misrepresenting themselves (re. lying) to look innocent is pretty shameful and I have no qualms calling them on that. And Europe has increased prices on pretty much anything electronic, something the free market hasn't solved. So they don't have a huge variety of choice. Sort of like the companies have the right to do w/e they want, and I have the right to moan and whine about it.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (3, Informative)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704005)

Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

Is Amazon full of it, or are you jumping to uninformed conclusions?

The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704039)

Amazon is, as usual, full of it.

Is Amazon full of it, or are you jumping to uninformed conclusions? The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

Your Kindle can READ?! Shit, that's really advanced. Mine just displays text.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704133)

This is going to blow your mind ... are you ready? My kindle can WRITE

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704331)

Pffft, my kindle CAN SMASH YOUR F0CKING BRAINS OUT!!!

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704397)

This is going to blow your mind ... are you writey? My kindle can ARITHMETIC

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

richmaine (128733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705053)

Your Kindle can READ?! Shit, that's really advanced. Mine just displays text.

Um. Actually mine *CAN* read. Check out the text-to-speech feature.

I don't think it is too strong on the understanding part, but it can do the reading part. :-)

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704051)

And, Amazon subsidizes the cost of the ebook -- they pay the publisher the full print price that they would pay for a paper copy of the book, and are subsidizing the cost of the book to keep it at $9.99 in the US.

If the paper book itself costs more elsewhere, they'd have to eat more of the loss unless the ebook price went up.

The publishers are the problem, not Amazon. The publishers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the success of ebooks.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704267)

The publishers are the problem, not Amazon. The publishers are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the success of ebooks.

This is a rather cretinous policy; it would make more sense to take advantage of a "bums on seats" strategy of selling cheaply to many. Given that the entire burden of distribution is taken off their hands, it would literally be money for nothing.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (3, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705301)

Everyone seems to think that the distribution of physical books is somehow expensive and troublesome. It isn't.

The publisher puts the books into boxes and ships the box full of books (maybe 25 of them) for $10. That works out to be around $0.40 per book, delivered to the store.

The cost of printing a softcover/paperback book is less than $2. You can have your very own book printed in small quantities for this price. So where does all the money go for a $20 currently popular book?

You ever think it might go to the publisher that fronted the author money, paid for the editors, marketed the book and promoted it? Gosh, those costs might not change for an eBook at all.

Guess what? Physical books aren't that expensive to distribute, and eBooks have almost identical costs. Sure on a $20 book you might save $2.50 but only $2.50. Waiting for the $1 currently popular eBook? You will be waiting a long time.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705903)

The publisher puts the books into boxes and ships the box full of books (maybe 25 of them) for $10. That works out to be around $0.40 per book, delivered to the store.

This is especially true since Barnes & Noble perfected the Alternate Reality Warehouse that occupies no taxable real estate, costs nothing to heat and cool, and is staffed by Oompa Loompas.

VAT Directives (4, Insightful)

meehawl (73285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704363)

The EU VAT policy directives specifically categorise ebooks and audio books as books, and thus *supposed* to be within the reduced VAT bands.

Following its policy line in the field of reduced rates of VAT established in its Communication of July 2007 (COM (2007) 380 final), the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards reduced rates of VAT : COM(2008)428 [europa.eu] : ...
allow reduced rates for:

        * children's nappies;
        * audio books, CD's, CD-ROMs or other physical support that predominantly reproduce the same information content as printed books;
        * few other technical adaptations already proposed in 2003, which are still valid, as equipment, aids and other appliances for disabled or services linked with waste treatment, etc.

Amazon has a long history of basically ignoring EU law when it suits it. For example, Amazon.co.UK insisted for years on charging for VAT for books delivered to Ireland (when the UK still charged VAT). Did it refund that improperly charged VAT for Irish customers when it finally relented? No. See also: One-Click Patent. Amazon likes to borrow a lot of the oxygen about the freedom of information and open markets and the disincentivising quality of software patents, etc, but when it comes down to it, it's as aggressive and exclusionary and predatory as Apple or Microsoft.

Re:VAT Directives (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705509)

Did it refund that improperly charged VAT for Irish customers when it finally relented?

Of course not, because that money had already been paid along to the government.

You are talking like Amazon actually benefits from collecting higher VAT. They don't. VAT money is a tax, which is paid along to the government. Of course, if Amazon has been charging VAT while keeping the money, then we are talking about large scale tax fraud. Claiming that something is VAT on the receipt and than not treating it as such in accounting is highly illegal.

VAT Remitted (1)

meehawl (73285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706153)

While your answer is logical and, on the surface, correct, it assumes perfect accounting procedures. However, if Irish tax authorities did not require VAT remitted to them for books sold, and Amazon was collecting said VAT, then where did the VAT go? Having dealt with VAT returns, I do know that while the wheels of revenue and excise turn extremely slowly, they do turn, and eventually, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, you will get a VAT credit for overpayment.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (2, Informative)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704413)

OK, then. Norway has 0% tax on downloadable software and books. The Kindle is still going to have trouble gaining popularity :)

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704501)

They are charged full VAT rate in the UK, at least. Hopefully now Amazon is going to start making e-books more mainstream there will be a change in the law.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704601)

The Kindle doesn't read books, it reads e-books, which are considered and taxed as software in many locales.

But not at 40%.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704067)

Conveniently the 1.4 price factor nullifies the Euro exchange rate, which is at $1.45 per Euro, so a book which costs $9.99 will cost 9.99 EUR. That's how everybody does it (I'm looking at you, Adobe!), why not Amazon too?

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704091)

Except, unfortunately, an electronic book isn't a book so they attract the full UK 17.5% VAT rate.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704113)

Who exactly is full of it? e-books != books.

e-books aren't covered under the VAT exception and you have to pay the full 15% on them.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (2, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704147)

RTFA, please.
Or, if you're too lazy, I'll post the excerpt here:

"Providing the wireless download service had proven a sticking point in the company's attempt to launch the Kindle outside America, after the retailer failed to come to an agreement with various mobile phone networks around the world. To push through the launch, the company instead chose to partner with American phone company AT&T, which already has its own international roaming deals around the world - including with British networks O2, Vodafone, Orange and 3.

The cost of receiving data over these roaming connections is notoriously high, however, with AT&T's ordinary mobile phone customers who use the service outside the United States paying just over a penny for each kilobyte of data they download. That means that an average book download would cost the equivalent of £14.39 if sent to a mobile phone."

So make cellular data services cheaper in the EU if you want cheaper eBooks. Yeah, cell phone service prices affect the price of reading material... remember that the next time someone asks you "what's that got to do with the price of tea in China?"...

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704321)

Over a penny per kB? That's AT&T ripping off their customers, not the British networks ripping off AT&T, and should be irrelevant when Amazon were negotiating the contract anyway.

500MB/month 3G mobile broadband is £5/month from Orange.
Three give 150MB/month if you top up by £5, plus free Skype calls.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704497)

Despite the quote, they are making shit up. We have existing data services in Europe that are cheaper and faster than the US equivalent. There is no need for Amazon to "partner" with any specific mobile network. And WTF are they talking about roaming for ? We are in our home countries - we will not BE roaming. We don't have AT&T accounts based in the US. Are they expecting us to make a cell phone call to the US just to download an ebook ? If they publish the books and let the device have a user accessible sim card, it becomes nothing more than a bespoke PDA. But of course they want lock in so they'll never consider that.

Another point against the device IMHO. No-one would buy a car that you could only fill with 1 brand of gas, or only use on certain routes. Why are people rushing to own a fallible end to end solution, when an open one allows the consumer to choose their own network ? My £10 per month data plan gives me unlimited access at up to 7.2Mbps. There is no way I will ever get close to the notional "fair use" limit by downloading ebooks ! The biggest ebook I have in my collection is War and Peace at 2MB. But I don't use PDFs of course. Why don't Amazon just concentrate on selling the devices and the books and let us worry about how we access them.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704597)

*you* arent the mobile customer in this case, amazon is. The device they're selling you comes with free cellular access, the whole point being it's entirely self contained and doesnt depend on you phone contract. So yes, they need to negotiate with the phone companies. Amazon wants to make money, if it'd been cheaper to go with a European carrier over the kludgey legal hack of using AT&T (and thus AT&Ts already negotiated network deals) they would have. Sounds to me like the EU providers made it too hard for amazon to work with them directly and you guys got screwed.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704627)

No-one would buy a car that you could only fill with 1 brand of gas, or only use on certain routes.

They would if it was shiny and called an iMobile.

Re:VAT on Books in Europe Trending Towards 0%-5% (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704277)

That is for dead tree books. Ebooks are charged at the full rate of between 15% and 25%. The UK is at the lower end of that scale.

usefulness (1)

alhoori (959694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703883)

Who kindle is useful compare with other devices ?

Re:usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29703935)

It's easier to remotely remove content from a kindle than any other device.
If that's not useful I don't know what is.

Re:usefulness (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703989)

Indeed, it's the best device to kindle books. :-)

Unrealistic? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703885)

Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps thinks that e-reader prices need to come down even more if the devices are going to become mainstream products, however. She suggested $99 as a price that would be much more likely to lure consumers. She said people "have somewhat unrealistic expectations of how much consumer electronics in general, and e-readers in particular, should be."

Considering that every consumer gadget falls in price dramatically over time, I'll just wait for when I can get an ebook reader at Walmart or Target for $49 or less. I remember when the MP3 players came out for hundreds of dollars and now you can get them for under $50 and they play CDs too.

As these things become more popular, more factories will open up to produce the screens, the cost will drastically come down from its current $60 [businessweek.com] .

It will happen. You just need to be patient and let the first adopters get killed and pay for the manufacturing expansion.

Re:Unrealistic? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703927)

I put my mp3 player down on top of a CD. Nothing happened. Should I smash the CD and feed the pieces into the SD card slot?

Re:Unrealistic? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704025)

Early adopters are suckers, but necessary.

I always start 2 to 3 generations behind with tech.

Re:Unrealistic? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704099)

*always stay*

typos, blah

That's nothing (3, Insightful)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703933)

I recently bought a monitor for exactly double its price in the USA.

For commodity hardware, a rule of 1.5x the US price is quite accurate, but for those a little bit more rare, it goes all the way up to 2.5x. If the Kindle becomes available here (which I strongly doubt), I would fully expect a price of $550-600.

P.S. The VAT on books here is 0%.

Re:That's nothing (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704097)

P.S. The VAT on ebooks is 17.5%, unfortunately. They're not books but electronic downloads and are taxed as such.

Re:That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704455)

only if they didn't read their law ebooks and audio books that copy printed works are BOOKS under tax law so are at the lower rate (in this case 0%)

Re:That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704485)

Aye, apparently E-Books are a service...

On one hand, it's pretty bad that a government tries to promote literacy then stealth-taxes some books by calling ebooks a service not a book.

On the other hand though, the people with a kindle, buying E-Books, are generally not the people who need cheap, tax free books to make sure they are literate.

Re:That's nothing (1)

CaptnMArk (9003) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704717)

Actually, if they have DRM, they are not "books", but more like a service.

It will be an epic fail in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29703951)

Given these prices, It won't be as attractive competition to printed books. Also, people won't love DRM. 0% VAT here in Poland so their explanation is full of shit.

Re:It will be an epic fail in Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704545)

On the other hand polish telecoms like to screw people in the ass when it comes to any services outside the basic calls and messages. Things like data transfer and premium SMS are expensive. I can totally see Amazon having higher operating costs here.

When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (4, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703957)

If I want to read fiction, I can easily grab a book and read it... where a portable device is *really* handy, however, is being able to carry a large number of books in a small space at once... such as reference material, and it is impractical to carry some 50 to 70 odd pounds of books everywhere. Thus, I want a portable device for reading documents that have already been formatted for 8.5x11, usable in any lighting condition where one could otherwise read conventional printed material (ie, laptop and notebook screens are not adequate because they are not easily readable in bright sunlight). Plastic Logic is coming out with a 10.4" diagonal screen reader soon that satisfies this contrast requirement, but even that's still about a third smaller than a full letter-sized screen.

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704001)

If I want to read fiction, I can easily grab a book and read it... where a portable device is *really* handy, however, is being able to carry a large number of books in a small space at once... such as reference material, and it is impractical to carry some 50 to 70 odd pounds of books everywhere.

I completely agree, personally I find one to two book to be "reasonable" to carry around. What I would REALLY like to see is a book reader that:

  1. Looks like a book when closed
  2. Has two reading surfaces inside
  3. Has the option to display on both surfaces or either single surface

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704251)

The IREX Digital Reader is likely the closest thing right now:
http://www.irextechnologies.com/irexdr1000 [irextechnologies.com]

But generally speaking it seems like the devices just aren't quite there yet. I'm betting it's a few generations until we get to the really good stuff.

Early "smartphones" sucked too, and these days they are genuinely useful. :)

Also check out the E-book Reader Matrix, seems to be updated fairly often:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix [mobileread.com]

A sidenote on the Kindle: Available in Finland: Yes. Books available in Finnish: No. Same goes for 3G wireless... If the local press is to be believed anyway. I'm going for a more open device, thank you very much...

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704461)

Well, there hasn't really been a market for localized ebooks in any of the smaller countries around the world so far.

Only place you could get them in large quantities were the reader's manufacturer's websites, and they only catered to large markets.

Why would any Finnish publisher even bother with making any of their books available as ebooks, when there were probably less than a thousand ebook readers in all of Finland. Same with Denmark, Norway, Sweden and all the other small locales.

The big push will come, when someone manages to put together a device that supports DRM (to placate the publishers) and local delivery of books, in such a fashion that I can either go to the publisher's/author's website and download the book onto my reader, or go to my local book store and buy it in some way.

For that to work, you'd probably need to have some kind of public/private key exchange working, where the book is encrypted with your public key before being sent to you.

Yes, DRM sucks, but as long as the publishers are suffering from irrational fears, it's going to stay in place.

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704345)

While a lot of us would like something in that size, I think quite a lot of manufacturers are looking at the netbook market for inspiration.

We don't see many netbooks with a 14.3" (A4 diagonal) or 13.9" (Letter diagonal) size screens. They're all around 10" (you mentioned the 10.4" coming out).

And once you have the screen, you still need a bezel, and some kind of input device as well, unless you want it to be an expensive touch screen model as well. I wouldn't mind, as it'd be nice to add notes, comments and stuff directly to the pages.

If you could get a display that allows you to fold it in half, you'd get something quite a lot better of course. You'd get a built in screen protector, it'd fold up for a smaller storage foot print, you would get A5 sized pages as used in most books and rotate it for A4 when needed. On the downside I suspect you'd end up with a deep bezel, as I doubt you could get a display that allows you to fold all that tightly, but I think most of us could live with something slightly larger than a 400 page hard cover book.

Using my copy of The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a reference, I end up with something that is 245x170x35 mm (9.7x6.7x1.4 inches). Too big to fit perfectly into your coat pocket, but only slightly bigger than the Eee 701 (8.9x6.5x1.4 in).

The sizes I gave leaves space for the bezel around the A4 sized screen, but considering the thickness of most E-readers, I don't think it allows you enough space to actually fold the display. Might have to go to almost double the thickness for that, and then you're looking at a device the actual size of The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and that is actuallly quite bulky.

You could save thickness for folding it, if you used two A5 sized screens instead, but unless you make them touch perfectly, you won't get it to look good when doing A4-viewing. You could do it with a flat, rigid screen, but then we're pretty much going to end up with something the size of a thin ring binder.

Essentially you are going to have to make a choice:
1) Read A4/letter sized documents on a small screen
2) Read paperback books on a huge screen that doesn't fit well on an airplane
3) Buy one of each.

And we haven't even touched on colour or refresh speed.

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704387)

This is where the current technology is a bit behind my current requirements. I have a significant number of expensive and very heavy dead-tree text-books related to my areas of study (molecular biology and biochemistry) where a convenient e-book reader would be an excellent resource. But since current offerings seem to be monochrome and just as expensive (if available at all), the attraction just isn't there yet.

E-readers need to have colour displays, and they need to be a lot more robust than the devices so far offered by Amazon, which seem to be excessively fragile.

Re:When will somebody make a DOCUMENT reader? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704585)

E-readers need to have colour displays, and they need to be a lot more robust than the devices so far offered by Amazon, which seem to be excessively fragile.

Fujitsu already has a colour e-book reader on sale in Japan. PlasticLogic says they should have one available for next spring...ish. I'm not sure about the durability, though. As for the price, they're going to start dropping over the next year or two now that so many different companies/products are getting into the market.

Top 20 software and sites I like (-1, Offtopic)

abc2009 (1641329) | more than 4 years ago | (#29703967)

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Re:Top 20 software and sites I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704003)

Either you didn't hit "preview" or you think normal human beings can read huge blobs of text.

Fail in either cases.

Re:Top 20 software and sites I like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704201)

or, much more likely, it's a bot trying to get higher ratings on google but doesn't realise that slashdot adds nofollow to the links.

Ironic that only DRM prevented this sooner (2, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704007)

The only reason the Kindle couldn't go "international" in the first place was because they want to have "international" pricing, which of course means DRM.  Without DRM, Amazon's product could have been global more or less instantly.

Even regular folks think that ten bucks for an e-book is nonsense, and they are also starting to see how DRM reduces the value of an electronic purchase to essentially nil.

In the end, some Chinese company will come out with something technically similar with no strings attached, and they'll wipe the floor with Amazon if they don't improve on this silly strategy.  I'd pay maybe a buck for an e-book, just for convenience sake--but not if you can yank it away from me at will.

Re:Ironic that only DRM prevented this sooner (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704027)

No, the only reason it couldn't go International was because the hardware used Sprint's shitty network in the US, and wouldn't work anywhere else.

Yup (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704405)

Sorry Amazon, but your market is the early adoptors and those with to much cash.

The idea of an e-book reader in itself is... well it is the PSP-Go. What am I going to do with all the books I already bought? Can't rip them and put them on it can I?

Rebuy all of them? Sure, if they were cheap, but they ain't even cheaper then the printed book.

So, I have to buy a very expensive reader, that I can't use on my existing collection of books and in return I get something that can break if I sit on it, batteries run out, can't loan to someone, can't use in an emergency to start a fire, can't swat a fly with, can't sell cheaply or buy cheaply second-hand and worsed of all, none of the savings get passed on to me.

But e-books mean no printed copies to stock so ALL books every published can be available... yeah, but they ain't.

Sorry, this is a no-win to me.

It would be as if the mp3 players had been produced by the music industry (see Zune).

But maybe, just maybe, authors will rebel. They do NOT have the costs of a sound-studio, their product is ready for distro from the start and selling a few kb's is not exactly going to take a monster server. An author who sells his own books for a 50 cents but gets to collect those whole 50 cents might be a LOT better off, especially as he would kill the 2nd hand and loaning business. Who is going to bother for 50 cents?

But nah, that won't happen. Artists are lazy, if they weren't, they wouldn't be artists.

Re:Yup (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705195)

Today, if they charged 50 cents they would get to keep maybe 20 cents. Credit card or other processing fees are going to eat the rest.

Even Paypal if you want to have a business account is going to charge fees.

As the world goes digital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704011)

Our history is lost to the wind.

If digital persists, paper will dwindle. The future will have nothing that is going to survive the coming storm of world power shifts.

Re:As the world goes digital (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704149)

Tell that to the builders of the Library of Alexandria [wikipedia.org]

Re:As the world goes digital (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704257)

Indeed, it was destroyed due to the Romans' kindle.

might as well buy a netbook for that price (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704013)

When shipping and Amazon's other charges are taken into account. This piece of tech costs nearly $345. All you get is a single-use device. For that money you'd be better off buying a netbook. At least then you'd get a decent sized (and colour) screen.

Since it's already been out a year in this model (version 2), I have a sneaking suspicion that this ploy is merely to dump old stock (if Amazon can get anyone to buy it) before a new model is introduced.

Re:might as well buy a netbook for that price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704035)

Reading books on a back-lit screen sucks something fierce. Apples and oranges.

Re:might as well buy a netbook for that price (1)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704189)

Yeah, you can, but the whole thing about ebook readers is they use ePaper and eInk. From what I understand, it has a display that highly resembles paper, has no lighting, etc. This makes it much more like a book, not to mention the form factor. I've tried to read ebooks on my MacBook pro, and I just can't, because it's nothing like a real book, it's awkward and totally terrible outside etc.

It's not just an aversion to LCD either. I'm a big comic book fan (Marvel mainly) but because I'm in a rural area, I typically am able to get pirated versions of my comics before my paper copy arrives. Because my paper version arrives up to a month after release, I've taken to downloading pirated comics and reading them before my paper copy arrives. I have no problem reading a comic on an LCD, but a text book just doesn't work for me that way.

Re:might as well buy a netbook for that price (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704357)

When shipping and Amazon's other charges are taken into account. This piece of tech costs nearly $345.

What shipping and other changes? Shipping is free and I don't know of any other charges. Even more when you buy Kindle books you get two discounts: first, the books are usually cheaper (not by much) and second, you don't pay shipping charges. I think that if you buy about 20-30 books it's like you get the device for free.

Re:might as well buy a netbook for that price (1)

Vulch (221502) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704611)

The Kindle is shipped direct from the USA to wherever instead of from the local Amazon at what appears to be a not free cost, and attracts import duties of various kinds on top of the total. Adds about 40 quid (65ccu) to the basic price.

Re:might as well buy a netbook for that price (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704759)

Even more when you buy Kindle books you get two discounts: first, the books are usually cheaper (not by much) and second, you don't pay shipping charges.

"Not by much" is exactly right, and as far as shipping charges, I've never paid Amazon to ship me anything. They offer free shipping on larger orders, so I'll wait until I have a few books I'm interested in and order them all at once.

I think that if you buy about 20-30 books it's like you get the device for free.

Huh? You think you're going to get a $10 discount per book? Not bloody likely! Maybe if you bought 200 books, the kindle would end up being free ... but by then it will probably have broken, and you'll be paying out the ass to have it shipped back to them and repaired/replaced.

It's not really ready (3, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704139)

Note that this "international edition" still has the same gimped fonts as the "U.S. edition", which basically only contains latin characters.

This seems very silly, given that the kindle actually seems perfectly capable of using a default font with much larger coverage: someone released a patch that changes the default kindle font to be Google's wide-coverage (e.g. including CJK characters) "DroidSansFallback" font! [blogkindle.com] (the page I linked to contains two patches, for two different fonts). It would have almost trivial for Amazon to do something similar (and they could have done a better job).

I don't know what Amazon is thinking, but this is a pretty pathetic attempt at an "international" kindle.

Re:It's not really ready (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704693)

You don't know what they are thinking? I do. They are thinking that they'll be able to sell to that subset of the European market that does not care about 'latin only'. They can learn from their experience in that market, make some customers happy, and earn some money while behind the scenes they can be working on a Kindle that can handle non-latin characters.

In other words, first mover advantage is more important than perfection in a 1.0 product. Amazon understands this.

Better wait for the good stuff. (1)

trickyD1ck (1313117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704265)

I'll wait till jesusTablet releases next summer.

The right comparison... (1)

Corporate T00l (244210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704323)

The right comparison is not the difference between US e-books and UK e-books, but rather the price differential between print and electronic. Amazon's ability to price and distribute content is still limited by the requirements of publishers. So the question is, is the % difference between print and electronic in the UK larger than the % difference in the US.

Not for me! (2, Insightful)

Linnerd (150927) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704423)

I live in Switzerland and I will not buy such a device.

The main reasons are:
- copy protection in Kindle (I usually pass on books that
    I'm done with - if only to gain room for new books)
- reader way too expensive
- books way to expensive (paper still is a lot cheaper)
- can't highlight phrases / earmark pages / collect citations
- did I mention copy protection?

The ebook business will have to go a long way until they
get to the point where mp3 shops are today...

Why would anyone want an Kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29704445)

It doesn't work with the epub format that is associated with many freely available books. Its would be comparable to Apple having decided not to support MP3 format on there iPods. Its just absolutely ridiculous.

Globalization, open borders... (1)

knarf (34928) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704487)

Seems that that whole globalization push is not meant for 'us', only for 'them' (for variable values of 'us' and 'them'). All the more reason to push back I'd say. If we don't get to pick the same fruits I don't see why we should play by the same rules...

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705259)

Kindle = way too much Amazon lock-in, control and DRM.

Just give me an e-book reader that supports standard formats, with no wireless or DRM please.

International price (1)

ram.loss (151102) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705319)

Price varies by country. In Mexico it is 11.99. There are no blogs for delivery here though, that sucks

Paying for your free lunch. (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 4 years ago | (#29705363)

Amazon.co.uk spokesman revealed that foreign customers — including those in Britain — would be paying $13.99 (£8.75) per book instead of the American price of $9.99 (£6.25). That amounts to a 40% premium for the same title." The spokesman said the higher prices reflected higher operating costs and VAT rates.

Good. Paying significantly higher prices might help those who believe, "it is free because the government pays for it" to get a clue.

No thanks, DRM infected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29705637)

... the subject line says it all.

The device is infected with DRM.
That unconditionally disqualifies it.

Native languages (1)

Carra (1220410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706033)

We can buy the kindle at a serious premium and English books at another premium. There are however no titles in my native language, Dutch.
Without that, it'll be hard to sell here in Belgium.

Hitchhiker's Guide (0, Troll)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29706235)

I wonder if this means that my US Kindle 2 will be able to search the Wikipedia when I'm in the EU. If that's the case, then I think it's totally worth the extra price that they will be paying for their books.
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