Amazon Kindle (sort of) available outside the U.S.

One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was so I had a place to blabber about the latest gadget that I’ve fallen in love with. Although, more often than not, these are things I make myself believe I could totally use, but than never buy (e.g. the HTC Touch Pro 2 smartphone), or buy but then never actually use for anything else than occasionally playing around with (e.g. the One Laptop Per Child laptop).

The latest one of these products is the Amazon Kindle that they announced today would be made available and could be used outside the United States. Finally, I thought, us poor folks in the rest of the world would be able to get our hands on some of the same techno toys our friends in the U.S. have been able to play with for quite a while now.

Except, we don’t. While they do indeed ship the Kindle to locations outside the United States and one can use their “Whispernet” wireless service in many countries across the globe now, the content available internationally disappoints. Reading books on this device is one thing that does work across the globe, but at least for me not that is rather a secondary feature of the device. I still prefer my books to come in paper (sorry trees) so I can put them on my book shelf once I’m done with them and pride myself on all the stuff I’ve read.

No, for me the other content such as newspapers, magazines, blogs and of course free on-the-go access to Wikipedia are key. Alas, except for Wikipedia, the Kindle’s German version offers pretty much nothing in that department. According to the Amazon website, blogs are not available in my geographic region (why not?), and neither are some of the periodicals I had my eye on. I mean, how cool would it be to be able to read The New Yorker for $2.99 (price of the monthly subscription in the U.S.) on the Kindle when I take the tram to work every morning? I once thought about subscribing this magazine the old fashioned way, but the delay between The New Yorker hitting the newsstands in the U.S. and it being shipped here was just to long for this to work out for me. Electronic delivery to the Kindle would have taken care of this problem, but I guess there are (as always)licensing issues that keep us from enjoying the finer pieces of American culture. Too bad.


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