Kindle Goes International, Launches in Over 100 Countries

2-06-09kindle2I’ve yet to jump on the Kindle bandwagon, mostly because I can’t afford it. But I’m not one of those naysayers, really. Granted, if I ever do get my hands on an e-reader I’m not going to pack up my books and give them away; I actually collect old books, and would never think to do such a thing (clingy English major type who can’t part with her beloved editions). But I can definitely see the draw of e-readers, especially one as well-connected as the Kindle. I’d love to be able to consolidate my reading materials, especially with paperback books that I’ll likely only read once and not keep afterward.

And the fact that Kindle is expanding its reach internationally is a good sign for the “new wave” of reading. It’s been three years since the Kindle dropped here in the US, and while I’m not sure it’s become the cornerstone of reading that some claimed it might become, it’s definitely made an impact. According to the BBC article, Amazon anticipates one million Kindles sold by the end of the year.

Some basic specs from the announcement, the Kindle will:

  • be available in over 100 countries
  • run via the 3G network (though which carriers will provide connectivity is unstated)
  • carry 85 newspapers, both US and international
  • offer more than 200,000 English titles
  • include books from Penguin, Faber and Faber, and HarperCollins

Much of the move to digital is in concert with recent statistics regarding digital book sales. From the article:

Penguin chief executive John Makinson hopes it will kickstart digital book sales in Europe.

“The publishing industry is experiencing explosive growth in digital book sales in the US,” he said.

While the data certainly points in that direction, and the buzz is strong, I think it’s going to take some time to see if it truly catches on internationally. Over at PC World, Daniel Ionescu pointed out one of the major flaws in purchasing a Kindle from the UK:

Because U.K. Kindle buyers will have to order the e-book reader from Amazon’s U.S. site, customers will have to pay extra tax for the device, due to the country’s regulations. Also, because books will be sold from the U.S. site as well, customers would be technically avoiding the Value Added Tax (VAT) system in Britain, which if applied, would make the books more expensive.

So, are you planning on buying a Kindle now that they’re available in your country? Do you already own one or another e-reader? Any thoughts or questions?