*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Kindle: 'read everywhere'?

Any question from a headline may be answered, 'No.' You cannot always, much less easily, read Kindle content once you've moved abroad.

Wherein Antisthenes buys a Kindle Paperwhite
Whereat Antisthenes comments on a year of its use
Wherein Antisthenes' Paperwhite breaks just after warranty
Wherein Antisthenes has his first frustrations with transferring Kindle content abroad

There are three basic problems:
- E-readers are cheaply built
- you do not own E-books from retailers, only gain rights to them
- every bloody country has different rules on the content, making it troublesome to transfer

The results are:
- it's better to read E-books on your phone, blackscreen, than buy a dubious device
- OTH, real books are much more satisfying and memorable
- better you choose one commercial E-book source in one country and stick to it than try much to transfer
- or, as there are precious few left standing, use Amazon in one country, and Google Books in another

This applies to paid-for e-books only, of course.

There's little point explaining how I transferred my e-books initially from Amazon Japan, as they have changed the rules since, in a way neither better nor worse but nonsensical.  Nor is there much point in complaining that the sensible thing for Amazon to do with its app is allow multiple sign-ins, so that no matter which country content is paid for, the user can access it indefinitely without having to strip DRM (a process both illegal and troublesome) attempt to transfer it, or sign-out/in each time they want to access books bought from the other Amazon location.  In the end, Kindle loses any further business.


  1. The whole way Amazon divides up its territories is a pain in the fucking arse. As an author, until I found a workaround, I'd get charge an international transaction fee on every payment and each territory sends a separate payment. That pretty soon adds up.

    As a reader, I keep getting promoted to join the Australian store. but that means less choice, less functionality (eg. you can't send gift cards) and a lot of dicking around.

    The one advantage Amazon does have over other retailers is that they have better search functionality, although still not great. Also, Kobo is owned by Rakuten who I hate dealing with, B&N is constantly in financial trouble and I don't have an Apple device so the alternatives aren't great.

  2. I still can't bring myself to do e-books. I have tried the kindle readers and they fatigue my eyes. And on top of that I don't get the satisfaction OR retention as I do when I read paper books. I feel like a dinosaur.