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Consulting|Technology|International business

The amazon kindle 2 now available for the Indian market – I am going for it!

with 3 comments

amazon.com kindle2 (India)

amazon.com kindle2 (India)

amazon.com listened to me as I prayed for an International version of the kindle as Jeff Bezos wrote what sounded like music to my ears (rather what looked like a treat to my eye – since I was looking at the screen as I read it!)

This is not the first time that such customer centric companies such as Google, Apple, amazon.com have listened to our concerns and addressed them!

I had blogged earlier here, here and here on how and why the amazon.com kindle is not available for purchase in India and who it’s competitors were and what were the tricks of the trade one had to adopt to lay one’s hands on one of them albeit with access to less than half the features. Now we have ALL the features PLUS an affordable kindle almost at our fingertips! How cool can it get?

I did some quick checks and here are some bare facts before we start counting the chicken before they hatch:

1. amazon.com is shipping only it’s kindle2 right now. This does NOT have native PDF support – we need to email amazon.com and they will convert the format from PDF to a propritory amazon format for viewing on the kindle2. This is disadvantage#1.

2. India is still a country where we DON’T have 3G wireless though the kindle2 being shipped might support it. I just went to amazon.com’s coverage map and it clearly earmarks the entire Indian coverage area under the EDGE/GPRS coverage and not under the 3G coverage. This is the same speed of Internet we get on the Blackberry mobile with our current service providers in India and it’s quite pathetic. This is disadvantage#2 and in my opinion, the most important since it directly impacts every book download speed or even breaks in the network.

3. The import duty for the kindle2 is pretty hefty. The checkout counter at amazon.com showed it to be $120! This is disadvantage#3.

4. The product isn’t ready for shipping yet. I need to wait about 2-weeks for it to start shipping. It starts shipping only from October 19th 2009. This is ok.

5. The subscription cost will be present for every book/newspaper I purchase on this kindle2 reading device. It will not come cheap. It will be a recurrent cost and that is something that will easily exceed the cost of the original device. This is akin to HP selling cheap printers at Rs. 4.5K and later ensuring we spend money every month in replacing it’s cartridges with regular use and each cartridge costs at least Rs. 1500 for both the color and the black and white. The kindle2 logic will be similar. It will not be easy on the pocket with the premium we are paying for every book sold in India to at least cost a $1 more than in the US.

Let’s look at the positives as applied to my case.

1. I am a voracious book reader – period This outweighs all the negatives listed above in one stroke and by itself.

Last October, I devoured an entire Warren Buffett biography of 900+ pages in 5 days of non-stop reading. This was a book that weighed 1 kg! This kindle2 weighs less than 10.2 ounces, it is lighter than a slim paperback as claimed on the amazon.com website for the kindle2.

2. The battery life for the e-ink display is long. This is because it is unlike the way the regular LCD display or LED backlit displays work. This just casts an impression and it stays till we shuffle the page when it needs to use the battery again. As long as you are on 1 page, it does NOT consume battery. Prior due diligence on this topic and recent reviews suggest the battery life to be in the range of 2-weeks before a re-charge is required. This is much better than my Blackberry that requires one compulsory charge every single day (better than my previous Blackberry that let go completely on it’s battery life due to a possible glitch in the device) or my iPhone that again required a charge every single day.

3. The volume of books on amazon.com bookstore (150000+) as per amazon.com – put conservatively after reviewing: http://blogkindle.com/category/kindle-international/

4. The US edition of newspapers are finally available to me for subscription at my fingertips during my daily morning travel to work and back for a reasonable number. This is again claimed by amazon.com for a subscription fee, of course.

5. I don’t need to lug heavy books. I remember almost every book on Warren Buffett I read weighs at least 1 kg.  My folks have always been advising me to ensure I reduce the weight of the books I carry physically and I was always sure the kindle is the way to go but with my recent botched attempts in last few months on buying various kindle products, the day has finally arrived when I can hope to order and use 1 – WITH ALL IT’S FEATURES. I do not need to tweak anything or compromise on the loss of features. This offers the maximum value for every rupee I spend on this device!

6. I have researched enough and more on the amazon.com kindle2 and have done sufficient due diligence and have therefore improved my understanding of what I am planning to buy – it’s not some arbitrary purchase decision – a lot of thought has gone into this – 6+ months of it; really – this is similar to my purchasing decision made on my SONY BRAVIA LCD television some 6+ months ago for which I had again done substantial research spanning 6+ months. I am convinced about this product and both times I pulled back at the last second in my purchasing decision was because the main product feature of access to the kindle2 bookstore was missing (what good is it then?!) and the fact that it was not supporting any kind of wireless in India made it a low value product. We perceive a product by the value it offers us. It HAS TO pass that value test.

7. The Kindle2 or the Kindle DX – The kindle2 is a fantastic reading device for left handers as well (unlike the kindle DX that has the page scroll buttons only right handed – a big negative in my opinion as you will scroll every page). Also, the Kindle DX is extremely heavy – it’s not portable either and the core competency of what it was supposed to offer was ‘twice the size of regular kindle2 reading area’ looks defeated since reviews suggest it offers no significant advantage over the reading experience with a plain kindle2.

I am going for the kindle2.

Will post detailed reviews after I receive it – I think it will be November 2009 by the time I can actually lay my hands on my own kindle2 (though the amazon.com estimate puts it at end of October 2009 on my order that I just ended up placing even as I am trying to wrap up this post) – a long chreished ambition to own one of these light reading state-of-the-art devices by amazon.com!

amazon.com kindle2

amazon.com kindle2

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Written by Naveen Athresh

October 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Hey I am curious to konow if you got your Kindle 2 and have used it in India??

    sai

    November 8, 2009 at 7:16 pm

  2. PLEASE PROVIDE DETAILS OF AUTHORISED AVAILABILITY POINTS FOR ALL KINDLE PRODUCTS IN DELHI

    MANINTOWN

    November 23, 2009 at 1:45 am

  3. I am really struck by the mode that you write, and the subject is excellent. Umm… do you know how well does the Kindle PDF conversion handle PDFs with Math formulas? I read a lot of Math PDFs and I really hate reading on the computer and I think printing everything just to read it once is a waste of paper. So Ive been looking for some ebook reader that handles math PDFs well but unfortunately it seems like none of them do. Thanks and have a great day!

    Rolando Helvie

    February 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm


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