No UK Kindle before Christmas
Well this is a blow, but as per my previous post, not very surprising as I knew they would have problems here with the sheer number of WiFi carriers (not a problem in the US as there is only one apparently)
This is the latest from the Frankfurt Bookfair:
Amazon will not launch its Kindle e-book reader in the UK until after Christmas as it attempts to sign up Wi-Fi partners around Europe, it has been revealed.
Rumours that Amazon.com was poised to launch the device in Europe—with the Frankfurt Book Fair the launch venue—have been circulating. However, fair-goers hoping for an early sighting of the popular device will be disappointed. Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon in the UK, said it was not yet clear when the Kindle would launch in the country. He said it was likely to be some time next year, given the complexity of signing up the many partners needed to support Europe-wide Wi-Fi access.
“The Kindle is based on wireless technology. If you need agreement with carriers in the US, there is one carrier. In Europe it is a minefield as there are so many operators. If you buy a Kindle in the UK and want to read it on the beach on holiday in Spain, unless we have signed deals in Spain it is not going to work on that beach,” he said.
The Kindle, which enables the download of books wirelessly from the internet, uses a free wireless service called whispernet provided by the Sprint EVDO network. The device has become popular in the US, and is expected to sell around 380,000 units this year.
Sony launched its e-reader in the UK in an exclusive deal with Waterstone’s last month. However, McBride was sanguine about the competition. He said the e-book market remained small and he was not concerned about losing first-mover advantage. “This is us building long-term business growth routes in the UK and it is not that important for us to enter a green field,” At a seminar held in Frankfurt yesterday Amazon.com promoted the Kindle device to international publishers, saying they could use it to get their books to US users. When asked about a European version, the e-tailer declined to comment on the “speculation”.
If you buy a Kindle in the UK and want to read it on the beach on holiday in Spain, unless we have signed deals in Spain it is not going to work on that beach,” he said.
What he means is surely that the downloading of books won’t work, not that the Kindle won’t work since I expect that most people going on holiday would have downloaded the books to the device before they left home – or at least while waiting around at the airport – not wait till they were on the beach. And what about all that sand getting into your Kindle? Surely that’s not very practical. With a paperback beach read you just shake and go, with an electronic book reader? I’m not sure I would risk it to be honest.
Expected sales of 380,000 Kindles? Even at a quick fag packet calculation, that’s a cool US$133 million in sales. So much for “the e-book market remaining small” uh huh.