Devil, meet details…

As we wait for the kindle to arrive in Australia, there’s been some chatter about what titles will be available and for what cost. The Sydney Morning Herald moans:


Australian Kindle users will have to pay about 40 per cent more than Americans for books on the Amazon e-book readers and the local publishing industry has expressed serious reservations about supporting the gizmo… And despite promising on its website that there are “no additional charges” for delivering books to overseas users, an Amazon spokesman told The Guardian that the average e-book would cost $US13.99 for foreign customers, 40 per cent more than the American price of $US9.99.

It seems as though kindle international is just a kindle with a gsm radio, with international roaming switched on. There’s nothing special about the device – in fact Amazon is marketing it to Americans who might like to travel, as well as to overseas users.

As anyone who has been overseas with an iphone knows, data costs whilst roaming are terrifying (I once spent $16 to check my email whilst in NZ.) Even three, whose data rates are pretty friendly charges $20 per MB when roaming in the USA (and a much more friendly 50 cents/MB when on an available 3 network overseas). Given that the average paperback novel will come in at around 500k, then an extra four bucks isn’t actually too bad. Of course, Amazon won’t pay consumer roaming rates, and is sure to be taking a cut – but the roaming charges will vary from country to country and there’s something appealing about a single flat-rat fee.

Again, the bigger devil is in the range of titles available…

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