Amazon Kindle store + device: The Australian difference


review Amazon might have started selling its Kindle range of eBook readers in Australia late last year, but there is a world of difference between the performance of the device and range of the Kindle bookstore in Australia compared with Amazon’s home country of the US.

This article will document that difference to make it clear what readers are — and aren’t — getting when they buy a Kindle in Australia — specifically focusing on the Australian aspects of the device without going into a general review of the entire platform. For the purposes of this review we borrowed a Kindle DX from Amazon, as well as consulting with colleagues based in the US for comparison purposes.

Wireless connection
The first and most obvious way that the Australian experience of the Kindle differs from that of overseas customers is the 3G mobile broadband connection the Kindle uses to download content. In the US this connection is provided by AT&T, but in Australia it is not clear which carrier is providing the Kindle’s connection (coverage map here). We asked Amazon, but the company would only say it was supported by AT&T’s global network.

Opinions online differ about what actual network provides the Kindle’s coverage, but many believe that Telstra at least is involved, and/or either or both of VHA and Optus. We haven’t seen many complaints about the US connection, but in Australia we found the Kindle DX’s mobile broadband connection painfully slow at times and flaky — much slower than browsing the internet on an iPhone or Android handset, for example.

In the worst case scenario it can take up to a minute to navigate to a sub-category. The connection may also drop out on the odd occasion but not enough to warrant irritation. However, downloading books doesn’t actually take to too long once the connection gets going — it took less than a minute to download Homer’s The Iliad and newspaper subscriptions are almost instantaneous to download, for example. In short, it will depend where you are and how you use the Kindle as to what sort of mileage you will get from its wireless connection.

Book availability
It’s a tricky task to compare the amount and type of books that are available through the Kindle store in Australia when compared to what’s available in Amazon’s home country of the US and other online bookstores. A really detailed and complete analysis of what exactly is available is beyond the scope of this article.

But what is immediately apparent from a surface-level analysis of the Kindle store is that it both lacks Australian content (a problem also shared by rivals such as Borders’ eBook store), and that it lacks the volume of content compared to the Kindle store in the US.

When we searched for Australian authors on the Kindle store, we could not find the works of Bryce Courtenay at all, and Thomas Keneally had only two books available — Abraham Lincoln (for $13.60) and Australians (for $22.20). In comparison, there are 20-plus works by Courtenay on the Borders eBook store, with the most expensive, The Story of Danny Dunn costing $30.95. The book is also available in hardcover at Dymock’s for $49.95.

My favourite Australian author, Sean Williams, has three books available on the Kindle store — for example, The Sky Warden and The Sun for $10.42. The Borders application has one piece of William’s work — Earth Ascendant for $7.69. Both books are available in paperback at Dymocks for 20.99 AUD and 19.99, respectively.

We also looked in both stores for a laundry list of Australian authors ranging from Peter Carey to David Malouf, to Tim Winton, Helen Garner and DBC Pierre. In most cases, both the Kindle store and Borders’ eBook store had few entries — usually only one or two books from each category. These authors are, however, well-represented in mainstream paper book stores.

Secondly, we compared the overall numbers of books available to Australians browsing the Kindle store, compared with Americans in the US browsing the same store. There are a diverse range of books are available in Australia through the Kindle store — 394, 534 of them — with 27 categories and numerous sub-categories. The top three largest categories are Non-fiction (257,935 books with 32 sub-categories), Fiction (130,737) and Science (41,046). Other categories range from Religion and Spirituality to Politics and Current Events to Arts and Entertainment.

394,534 Kindle books is a lot of reading, but everything is relative. Comparing the figures with a US Amazon account, the figure is grossly larger at a total of 637,652 Kindle books. The Non-fiction category available in the US is 401,895 and outnumbers all of the Kindle books available in Australia. The Fiction category in the US is close to 100,000 more books — 225, 505 books — than the same category available in Australia. The Science category doesn’t have such a dramatic jump with 47,492 kindle books available in the US.

Broader content availability
Again, when you look at non-book content available to Australians through the Kindle store, the options are limited. Not just books — Australian newspapers, magazines and blog subscriptions are missing in action and it looks like they aren’t coming any time soon.

“We’re working on it. At Amazon, we are always working to expand selection for our customers and this is true with Kindle books as well as newspapers and magazines internationally,” said an spokesperson in response to our request for comment on when Australian readers can expect Australian press and subscriptions to be available on their Kindles.

The Kindle Store is split into three categories — books, magazines and newspapers. The blog category — where a reader can subscribe to blogs — was not apparent after scouring the Kindle DX and the Kindle shopfront. Amazon was approached if the blog subscription category was available to Australian readers. The spokesperson responded: “Not at this time, but we are working on making blogs available internationally.”

No Australian newspaper was represented in the Kindle store but there is an international category with two titles, The International Tribune — which is also listed under the US heading — and the International Tribune Asia Edition.

The newspaper category in general is extensive with 118 newspapers listed and 20 subcategories — US, UK, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Ireland, International, India, Germany, Czech Republic, Colombia, China, Canada, Brazil, Argentina. The US category is the highest represented, with 62 newspapers and most major city publications are listed. The newspaper figures were compared with US Amazon account and the figure increased to 136 newspapers. This is most likely attributed to smaller American press omitted from the Australian market because of lack of relevance.

There are 40 magazine titles to browse through and the top three bestselling behemoth’s is Time, Shape and Newsweek. There are 63 magazines available on the Amazon Kindle store in the US. Again, like the newspaper section, Australian magazines are a no-show. A cross section of mainstream popular publications are present like Forbes (ranked no. 12), The Escapist (32) and PC Magazine (6).

There are also non-fiction publications specialties such as Asimov’s Science Fiction (10), Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (17) and Analog Science Fiction and Fact (22).

The Kindle DX is available from the Amazon store for US$379 (approximately AU$430) with the normal Kindle going for US$189 (AU$215). It does not appear as though Amazon charges a premium for Australian customers.

Overall the Kindle is a mixed bag for Australians compared with the experience granted by Amazon to its US customers. Australians get much less content in general — and specifically Australian content is very much lacking. The wireless can also be slow and patchy at times. But the Kindle still represents remarkable value — at about $215, its normal model is competitive with Borders’ Kobo eReader, which has much lesser specifications. And there is still a good amount of global material available through the Kindle store.

Do you have a Kindle and live in Australia? What has been your experience of the device and the content available?

Image credit: Amazon


  1. A few things:

    1. If you’ve ever used roaming overseas you’ll know that you’re not locked into a network there – you access your service through your provider’s first available roaming partner. AT&T lists 3, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone as their partners in Australia, so whatever you find is whatever you use. The Kindle never tells you what you’re actually using, of course.

    2. It’s Bryce Courtenay, not Courtenay Bryce… surprised you would make this error! The horrible irony is that his books are available in Kindle format, just not in Australia.

    3. The premium international users pay is supposedly on Whispernet delivery, not the device, which you can see in the price discrepancy between Kindle and Borders titles.

    Definitely agree with you on the problems with the catalogue, though – the selection of newspapers and magazines is particularly woeful. If The Guardian were on there I would so subscribe… magazines not so much, since I usually buy them for their photography.

    The book situation is slowly improving (so glad Willam Gibson made his catalogue internationally available!) and the last couple of times I wanted to impulse buy a book, it was available. It’s not a great situation, but I can definitely say it’s better than when the Kindle first shipped. We use Calibre to convert non-mobi ebooks and blogs to read on the Kindle for now.

    I was expecting Borders to step up a bit more on the ebook front, but it hasn’t happened… I’m on their mailing list, and they seem to concentrate on driving people towards their new (hardcopy) online shop. Which ships to you from the US, so it takes at least a week, plus any book fan with half a brain has much better places to shop. I’m hoping book publishers will finally realise that electronic delivery is all about instant gratification and start selling their books accordingly.

    • Urgh. Fixed the Friday afternoon Courtenay brain spasm.

      Interesting — I didn’t know that you could use Calibre to convert books in other formats for reading on the Kindle. A stack of people have recommended that utility — must be good!

    • Borders are pushing its eBook arm. The Borders eBook store app is available to download for various platforms. Also, Samsung and Borders have a partnership atm – promoting the Galaxy S as a reading device with the Borders eReader app.

    • Hi, I am thinking of getting kindle, and regularly travel to the US and other countries. As an Australian user, am I still limited to Australia-available titles if I am over there? I have tried to get a reply from Amazon, with no luck. I know this is a basic question, but I am new to all this!

      • Just set up an Amazon account with your Aussie address and CC and you’re all set. No need to send money to your friend and what’s more with the Aus to US exchange rate at the moment you are getting one pretty sweet deal!

  2. In Oz you can see the network your Kindle is using (or change it) by

    Home > Menu > Settings > then type in 311

    • Hi Ron,
      I have been reading ur advice re kindles – i am thinking of purchasing the kindle touch with 3g for my husband – thy are now in the shops here in Oz but about $50-$60 more – how do i order from the web — is there an australian amazon site or do i go thru the american one – sorryb for the silly questions but all new to me :)
      Do u still agree that they are worth getting – or just another toy – husband avid reader and we travel a lot so thought would be great xmas present
      thanks and hope u can offer me advice – which best one to get / value for money etc
      Nici :)

      • I too am a pretty keen reader and in the last 12 months since I bought the smaller wireless and 3G have acquired about 90 odd books. It weas not the touch but I can vouch for the concept. The only downside is that the is a dearth of Australian books and some very good authors are not available in Australia. The small version is light, fits in to one handed reading and destroys an IPAD for ease of use for reading in bed, on a chair or whatever.

  3. I was afraid but not surprised of what Renai was going to write about the Kindle, because my experience with the Kindle App on the iPhone was similar.

    I don’t know if Amazon has any need to negotiate the licencing deals for Australia. My hope is that with, Amazon will make strong agreements with the UK publishers, and we get the flow on due to the nature of our publishing links and market strength in the UK book publishing market.

    Some things that Renai did not mention. The Kindle can read .mobi and pdf files as well as its own format (a modified mobi). It uses its own DRM schema, so if you buy a book from Borders or one of the many other retailers here or overseas, you can not read it on the Kindle unless you strip the DRM.

    It is still a great reader with audio and basic web browsing (within the confines of the e-ink technology) but is let down via the problems of book rights in Australia. (which you can work around, but don’t ask me how to do it!).

  4. The big problem I have noticed is in the number of free books offered by the Kindle store in Australia compared with the number of free books available in the US.
    US Kindle user forums suggest that there are a great many available in the US but when I have followed their links I have been met with the message that these are not available in my country (Australia). So far I have only been able to find two free books offered by the Kindle store to its Australian customers.

    Like Komala has stated before, I have been relying on the free software program Calibre to manage newspaper and magazine downloads, such as The Australia and Sydney Morning Herald as well as the UK’s The Observer and New Scientest and Scientific American. Calibre is also used to convert other formatted books for use on the Kindle although it will not do this for DRM titles (but that is a whole other issue!).

    I enjoy using my Kindle 2 and particularly enjoy the opportunity to download samples of books (such as Bill Bryson’s latest) on a try before you buy basis.

    Given the low overheads involved when compared with the costs of producing, storing and shipping print books I am still amazed that ebooks are not generally a lot cheaper than they currently are and Amazon’s pricing premium on purchases outside of the US does not help.

    Although it is early days I have been pretty pleased with my Kindle 2 as a book reader and much prefer it to my few plays with Border’s Kobo.

  5. Calibre is good for converting formats but will not work if the original is DRM’d.

    As a dedicated booklover with over 5000 books in my home, I never thought I’d be converted to a Kindle (or other ebook reader). Absolutely the best ‘book money’ I’ve spent this year.

  6. As an Australian who is tossing up whether or not to buy a kindle, I really need some advice. Basically, should I go for it? I’m so torn. I really want to buy one but I don’t want to shell out the money only to be disappointed in what books I can purchase. Is it worth it? Please help.

    • yes, yes it is. it can also read tons of free ebooks. Calibre is a great bit of software that will enhance your kindle usage. it catalogs your books and can sync news feeds to the kindle.

      Our family has 2 so far, and i’m buying another for my mum :)

    • I would suggest if you have a smart phone, or even a PC/Mac, to download the Borders and Kindle app, and look at what books you can find on each of the books shops (the apple ibook is not currently set up to sell books in australia).

      If the books come up that you like, that would be the best choice for you :-)

      Ironically, everyone has ported their e-book app to the iPad, so if you want to read every book available, the iPad covers all the DRM schemes except Microsoft.

      Feel free to contact me if you want more advice….

  7. Ron – Thank you! mine has been on vodafone (1-0bars) and now its on Optus with 4bars. thank you!

    I love my Kindle, best gadget i’ve bought in the last 10 years (and i’ve bought alot). very few times does something come out that is actually better then the product it replacing.

    did you know the Kindle has games as well?

    1. Go to the Home screen.

    2. Press ALT+Shift+M.

    3. The Minesweeper game will appear.

  8. Thank you, you’re awesome. I just made my purchase and am really excited. I think I was always going to buy one, I just needed a prod :)

    • Hi Maree, are thinking of getting a Kndle DX for the mother-in-law who is an avid reader. Am not sure book availability in aus and about ease of use for someone who is not especially tech savy. Noted you have recently purchased and would appreciate any advice..


  9. Great article.

    for a lot of the reason you pointed out, I wanted a Kindle a lot, but now after looking into it and a lack of honesty by Amazon I will not be getting a Kindle.

    I’ll just use the Kindle app on my iPad and Android device whcih will lead me to purchase books from many others places.

  10. I use the Kindle app on my iPhone, and apart from its non-existent accessibility features, I have two issues with it.

    (1) I have to pay $2-3 extra per title because of “Whispernet”, even though I’m downloading the titles through my own Internet connection.

    (2) Most books I want to buy are “not available” to Australians. AFAIK, none of the Agency 5 titles are available. (For those who haven’t had to waste time trying to work out WTF is gong on in the ebook sector, the “Agency 5” are the five big publishers, each comprising many smaller publishers. If your ebook is a popular title and not from an indie publisher, you are probably not allowed to buy it.)

    So, so far (each mark out of 10):

    • ease of use: 7
    • accessibility: 0
    • book availability: 2

    The good news? There’s lots of room for improvement, Amazon.

  11. @Clytie Siddall, when you say you pay $2-3 extra per title, is that just because it is via your iPhone? If I bought the Kindle, and download something in Australia, would I have to pay that amount extra?

    Also, the new Kindle has 2 options – wifi, or wifi and 3G. Within Australia, what is the difference? I understand 3G means I can download wherever I have a phone network whereas wifi is only for within internet cafes etc, but I somehow got the impression looking at other websites that if I’m not in the US, I won’t be able to use the wifi function at all?

    Can someone please clarify?

    Thanks so much!

    • Wifi can be used anywhere there is a wifi service. This can be in your home, using your own wifi service, or in a public place using a free wifi hotspot such as libraries, McDonalds, cafes etc. I have a Kindle 3 with Wifi and linked it to my home wifi within 2 minutes of it being out of the box. It’s really easy.

  12. Hello,

    Very interesting article and comments,
    I’ve been thinking of getting a reading device and I am interested in one that is good for reading pdfs as my study courses always provide pdf copies of the course books, so that should be the main use.

    I assume that it is the carrier you are connected with that is the limiting factor for content, rather than the actual hardware? So an American on holiday in Australia would find their usual content missing, until they returned home. Although might be a bit excessive to fly to the UK or USA just to buy a book :)

    I’ve read that you can port your purchases between devices or re-download them, does that mean I could get friends in USA and UK to use my account and purchase ebooks – and then email them to me? Maybe my Australian payment/account details would cause problems with that idea.


  13. Vivien, sorry for the delay in replying.

    As far as I can tell from the Amazon “Help”, the $2-3 per title is a penalty for living outside the U.S. As I said, I pay it even though I’m downloading each title onto my iPhone via my home (wired) connection. I can’t see where that costs Amazon anything.

    I’d suggest you read the Kindle Help on this. There are also some quite good forums for the Kindle, on Amazon.

    You’re right about 3G and WiFi. You can normally use a wireless connection wherever there is a suitable network (on my iPhone, a wireless symbol shows at the top of the screen). When you’re outside wireless range, you have to use 3G (outside wireless, the phone shows a 3G icon). So having a WiFi only Kindle or iPad would mean you’d have to depend on wireless connections only. A 3G device would cost more, but give you access just about everywhere.

    I haven’t heard anything about not being able to use WiFi in Australia. Again, I’d suggest checking the Help. (However, it sounds unlikely to me, since wireless access is one of the big selling points of the Kindle. The exclusion might be that you don’t get the “free” Whispernet wireless access available in the U.S.)

    Vivien, the best place to get help and advice on your Kindle, and any ebook/ereader question, is the MobileRead forums. There are plenty of Aussies there, and it’s a friendly and knowledgeable place. There’s a separate forum just for Kindle questions. This is your personal invitation to MobileRead. Dress is casual. :)

  14. @Clytie Siddall: Thanks very much for your response! Will check these suggested sites out now.


  15. I’m totally confused by anything electronic but the more I read (the less I understand) about the Kindle I am starting to develop an intense desire to have one. Am I understanding that if I purchase one through Amazon that it would work fine here in Australia? And if I’m visiting the U.S., does that mean that I can download ebooks that I cannot obtain in Australia? Do I need any other special devices to work the Kindle? I’ve got my finger itching to press the ‘Buy’ button but I just need some basic info before I do!

  16. Don’t be confused, Lauren. :)

    Just like learning to drive a car, or cook a meal, you take it one step at a time. None of the steps are difficult, I promise you. (It’s when you try to take several steps at once that you trip over yourself. ;) )

    I empathize with your intense desire to buy one of these shiny gadgets. I’ve been suffering from iPad-lust. I’ve promised myself I won’t buy one until the next model comes out, but… ooh, it’s so SHINY! :D

    (Um, I already bought myself a new ereader this year, so I’m trying to exercise self-control. Trying… still trying.)

    OK, back to the question. ;)

    Yes, you can buy a Kindle directly from Amazon in the U.S., and it will work here. However, if you’re outside the U.S., you will have access to fewer books, and you will pay an extra charge per book for “wireless download” (even if you’re not downloading via WiFi).

    The only way you can buy the “U.S. only” ebooks is by having an Amazon account with a U.S. mailing address (including on your credit card). So just being in the U.S. doesn’t help. Americans can still access these books when they’re travelling overseas. (No fair, huh?)

    You don’t need any special devices to use the Kindle. You can also sync it with the free Kindle program on your computer.

    The best place to find out more about the Kindle (and meet a great bunch of other ereader users, including many Australians) is to visit the MobileRead Kindle forum. You can read the FAQ and ask any questions you like.

    MobileRead is our ereader café. It’s a great place to get the goss. Grab a chair and have a look around at the other tables.

    There’s also a very useful thread on Which reader should I buy?, if you haven’t quite made up your mind.

    Enjoy. :)

    • Thanks Clytie, very reassuring for a technodope like me :} I am definitely getting one but I will wait until mid-next year when I’m visiting the states and have it delivered to friends that live there. I’m going to load up a bunch of books before I come home! :) Thanks again for the wise words.

  17. Hi all Kindlers!

    I’m in Australia but travelling around Europe for four months (big yay!). Can someone answer a question for me: if I buy the Kindle 3 device now via Amazon and take it to Europe, can I download books in Europe? Do I need to ‘do anything special’ in order to do so? Is it worth getting the DX (the normal @ around $215 is much more my budget)? I realise these are really dumb questions for you cyberheads, but I’m not one of you – just a fellow bibliophile!

    Thanks for any advice!

    • Kate, yes you will be able to buy your books overseas.

      Unless you are wanting the larger screen offered by the DX then the 3G should suffice. Also, if you are travelling you will probably be better off with the smaller Kindle anyway. That way you can save a bit of cash for those European bars!

  18. Kate, in my opinion (I’m a teacher) there’s no such thing as a “dumb question” if you really want to know something. How do you find things out unless you ask?

    Again (see the answers above), I’d strongly recommend you visit the Kindle forum on MobileRead, where you can ask specific questions about Kindles. There are plenty of Aussies there (and we’re all bibliophiles!), so you’ll get the region-specific answers as well.

    AFAIK, your Kindle is only limited by your account location. So, if your Amazon account has an Australian address and/or uses a credit card with an Australian address, then your Kindle is “Australian”, no matter where you take it.

    So I don’t think anything will change when you go to Europe. You’ll still have access to the same books you would buy from Australia. You’ll still pay a “Whispernet” download fee, even if you or someone else is paying for the connection. You’ll just be a “travelling” Australian Kindler. ;)

    As for which Kindle you should buy, that really depends on what you want from the device. I wrote an article on this, which you might find helpful. In general, I’d suggest comparing the features of the two devices, and deciding whether it’s worth paying for the extra ones.

    Again, the Kindle users at MobileRead can give you more details: I don’t have a Kindle myself (I read on my iPhone).

    I hope you have a great time in Europe! :D

  19. Having just acquired a Kindle for use in Australia, and having managed to download only one Kindle book out of seven attempted, I would advise people in Australia to be very wary about buying a Kindle. All of the seven books I wanted to download were available in the Kindle store in the US but only one was available in Australia, due apparently to copyright laws! It’s a very disappointing stae of affairs.

    • Colin, I believe at the moment the US store has about 900k eBooks versus the Aussie store with 650k ebooks. It can be frustrating but in time I am hoping the range of books available to Australians will improve.

  20. Colin, you have encountered the biggest problem in Australian ebook use today. Over a year ago, the big publishers suddenly decided they wouldn’t sell ebooks internationally anymore. (This is not a copyright law issue, BTW: it’s just a choice by the publishers. It leads to the weird situation where you can buy a hard-copy book internationally and have it shipped here, but you can’t buy it that title as an ebook.)

    So it’s not just Amazon: if you go to any of the major ebook retailers, you’ll run into the same problem. We readers end up shopping around different sites because, despite what are supposed to be consistent rules, sometimes you can find an Australian-available title in one shop which you can’t in another.

    It is an extremely limiting and frustrating situation for keen readers in Australia (and in other countries). And you’re right that it should be considered when people think about buying a Kindle.

    Before buying a Kindle or any other e-reading device, it’s well worth checking out the ebook retailers who supply books for it. For Kindle, that is only Amazon, which can work out pretty well for Americans but leaves the rest of us with a single, much-reduced range of titles.

    This is why you see people urging retailers to use ePub, the open ebook format. This format (with or without DRM encryption) is available from many retailers and works on a wide variety of e-readers. For example, you can buy ePub books from Borders Australia which aren’t available to you from overseas sites. Borders have only just started operating as an ebook retailer, but their range is improving all the time.

    So, when you’re deciding on an e-reader, I’d advise going to different online ebook-selling sites and seeing if the titles, authors and types of books you like are available to Australians. Then choose an e-reader which handles that format. In general, I’d recommend an e-reader which supports ePub (with and without Adobe DRM), because that format is more widely available, and it gives us access to the growing popular catalogue at Borders.

    • I am an author, a publisher and a journalist. Publishers are playing at being Canute’s courtiers. Canute said the tide would come in and it did.
      Although I try to keep to the letter of the law, I have problems. John Burdett wrote two excellent books on Bangkok. I have bought 16 of the damn things because I give them away to try and explain some of the features of Bangkok. I cannot buy it for my Kindle.
      The publishers responsible for this are nongs, galahs and no-hopers. I have the machine on my Kindle because I had it scanned in. Have I broken the law? Possibly. If they will not supply me with my reading material what else should I do?
      On another matter.
      I have two Kindle 3s. On the old one I can do collections slowly and laboriously. But I can do it.
      On the new one if you put a title in a collection it remains, as it were, in storage. Delete the one in storage and the one in the collection goes walkabout.
      Does anyone know the solution to this?

  21. Colin.

    The Kindle will support mobi format. However it is not as widely accepted as a format compared to ePub.

    Unfortunately DRM (both Amazon and Adobe) prevents conversion between the formats (vis Calbre, if you dont have it, down load it now. I will wait.)

    Borders AU is the best player at the moment e-book wise, however and are also options, as is Be carefull, as formats and region locks still apply, some books may be in MS Lit format which uses another DRM schema.

    Welcome to the world of DRM…..

    • You can sometimes get around DRM. Save in .txt. At the bottom of Microsoft Word you see it has several .txt options. So save it first as ANSI and then chose three more. I use BigEndian because I love the name. Often, not always, that will get rid of DRM.

  22. Just received my new 3Gen Kindle from Amazon (Wifi only). After having it for only a week I’ve had to send it back because the Wifi could not connect with my home system. Amazon felt that the problem could be associated with the fact that my home is set up with Apple computers and an Apple router, although I couldn’t understand how this could be so.
    I’ll be receiving a credit for my Kindle but I still haven’t made up my mind if I’ll buy the 3G model instead.
    I’m interested to hear if any other Australian Mac users have experienced similar problems with the new Kindle? I’m currently running an Apple Airport Extreme Wifi for those interested.

  23. I can’t see where an Apple system would prevent your Kindle connecting over WiFi. :S

    WiFi is a standard connection which Apple supports comprehensively. (At our house, we have a Mac/Linux system, with several Macs, a couple of Linux computers and a Linux router. Any number of different devices connect seamlessly to our WiFi network. This includes the Kindle app. on my iPhone.)

    Your Airport Extreme base station supports all the standard WiFi bands. Do you have trouble connecting any other WiFi-enabled device to it? Have you set it up to accept only certain I.P. addresses? Was the Kindle able to “see” the WiFi network at all, or did the connection fail when you entered the WiFi password?

    Please supply more details, if you don’t mind. :)

    Also, I don’t think it’s reasonable that you should be stuck with paying for 3G access when you have a working wireless network. (Did you test the Kindle with any other wireless network, e.g. a free one at the library or some other public location?) The wireless connection is one of the Kindle’s most useful features. You save a lot on data by using available wireless networks.

    Again (see the comments above), I strongly recommend you ask this question on the Kindle forum at MobileRead, because it’s probably the best place to ask Kindle-specific questions. There will be other Aussies there who have bought the Kindle 3, and other Airport Extreme users who have done so.

    As for the wireless+3G version, how much time are you likely to spend outside wireless range? If you don’t mind waiting until you get back into range again, it’s not too much of a disadvantage being without 3G. However, if you’re likely to spend much time outside wireless range, you may want to be able to use the Kindle over the 3G network.

    I hope this helps. :)

  24. Hi Clytie

    Everything you’ve said about the Apple OS is true. Even my friend’s PC connected without a problem but the Kindle could not, even though it ‘saw’ the network. It always came up with a statement saying that my password was incorrect and no amount of changing passwords or any other configurations solved the problem.
    The Kindle did work at a Free Wifi outlet, where I managed to download my books but the time and date could not set correctly, so I have a feeling that this may have been part of the problem.
    I’m also fairly tech savvy so I had not trouble changing any of the Apple Wifi settings or dealing with the Kindle requests.
    In fact I’m in two minds as to whether I get another Kindle or not as the Ipad could prove to be a better proposition.
    Thank you for your help and I’ll certainly check out the Kindle forum.

    • Hmm… I wonder if it has limitations regarding passwords? That would be a bit primitive, but it’s possible. The date-time issue is also a possible cause (firmware problems?).

      For seamless integration, in my experience you can’t beat Apple systems themselves. We have two iPhones and several iPods on our Mac/Linux WiFi network, and they all “just work”.

      Although I use my iPhone for reading, I’m really hanging out for an iPad. I do think it’s going to revolutionize reading, especially for illustrated books, magazines and books with embedded media. I am so looking forward to doing crosswords on it, as well as lots of reading!

      Many people are very happy with their Kindles. It comes down to how you want to use the device, and for what media. Good luck with your decision. :)

      (FYI, MobileRead also has a forum for iPhone/iPad reading, and a separate thread on how to choose the best ereader for your situation.)

  25. I’m fast coming to the conclusion that my best option is to buy a Kindle using my US-based brother’s address and credit card, and then it becomes a ‘travelling’ American Kindle. Is there a downside to this plan?

    • Abosolutely none.

      It is not really Amazon making a pest in regard to OS book sales, but publishers.

      The same is true for Apple iBookstore. JD over at has an article on that topic.

    • Having a US based brother is a dream come true for ebook readers. If you have a US address and a US credit card you are laughing.

      If you don’t want him can I have him?

  26. As I said above, I have 5000 DTBs and am a great lover of books. Although perhaps I can now say I am more of a great lover of reading than I am of physical books (quite a revelation to me).

    I’ve had my Kindle for about 4 months now and my Kindle books purchases are running at approx. 30 Kindle books to 1 DTB. (I already have more than two hundred Kindle books now.)

    Yes, there are some books that are not available *yet* to me as an Aussie buyer but the reverse is also true. There are ebooks that I’ve bought that are not only unavailable to US buyers but cheaper.

    I don’t have a single regret about my Kindle purchase. And I believe those arguing against ebook readers really are trying to push the avalanche back up the mountain. Just like online music sales, there is no stopping the ebook revolution.

  27. And I meant to say that in the long run, I believe authors will be just as big a beneficiary of ebooks through larger royalty percentages as readers will be through a greater availability of books. Can you see the time when ‘out-of-print’ will be an historic phrase?

  28. Hi there,

    I have purchased a Kindle3, and am pumped for it to get here asap.

    If I go onto Amazon and “purchase” a whole bunch of the free books it says they will automatically download via whispernet once I get my kindle. I am worried that I am going to get smashed for all the international Whispernet fees once I open the box!!!

    So is there anything that i should do on setup to avoid this?


    • BruceLee,

      If the books are free then there is no WhisperNet charge.

      If you buy a book then the price you pay via 1-Click includes the $2 charge. Sometimes you’ll see a book listed somewhere and it will be, say $4.99. When you go to that book’s page the price will be $6.99. And that’s what you pay

      Here’s the list of bestsellers and free books which is updated hourly:

  29. I am amazed at how expensive these ebooks are. There are no printing costs invovlved at all and yet I can buy the book in print for for about the same as the ebook form. This implies that the shops are making a huge amount of money as I bet the authors are making the same sort of income.

    • And you’re only buying a license to read them. You can’t lend them, give them away, resell them, bequeath to your children etc.

      And if you sell your ereader you’re obliged under the terms of agreement to delete all content first.

      Hope ebook prices will come down to a reasonable level in the not too distant future.

      Another thing: until there’s a common format, or your ebook reader reads a variety of formats, your stuck with the one brand device and one store (eg Kindle/Amazon).

    • Yup. they are too damned expensive. My business partner in Shanghai thinks the price should be $2.00. I concur. There are no warehousing costs, no returns, no discounts. But, but, but it takes publishers a long time to get their act together. They like things as they are.
      When I tried to join the Young Publishers Society in London I was blackballed. The attack was led by Anthony Blond. He said, ‘This is a society for legitmate publishers. He, if I may use the phrase, is an illegitimate young publisher.’ Still am. And those silly sods thinks the e-book revolution will go away if they ignore it. It makes you weep.

  30. I have used Fictionwise in the past to read books on my little notebook computer when travelling. Who said you can’t curl up in bed with a computer. I change the orientation of the page so it opens like a book and can read in the dark while husband sleeps. BUT everytime I choose my books 5 out of 6 are geographically restricted.
    I just got my Kindle yesterday and am already gnashing my teeth at the restrictions. This however is a publisher problem not a device problem.
    My kindle had a bit of a problem recognising my wi fi at home. It got next door’s fine! However it settled done and found it after a few goes. (Just enough time to panic me)

  31. I’am wanting to buy a 3G Wi fi Kindle…going to America next month should l buy it there? Also have a Mac laptop with Mac wireless….will this be a problem in downloading books?

  32. will this forum tell me if there r any problems with kindle and apple laptops being used together

    • There shouldn’t be any problems using a Kindle with a Mac, Robyn. :)

      On the Kindle Help pages, you’ll see plenty of info about using a Kindle with your Mac. Kindle is advertized to work with Macs.

      If you do have any problems, just ask on the Amazon Kindle Help forums or the Kindle forum at MobileRead.

      I run the free Kindle app. on my Mac laptops, and it happily syncs with the Kindle app. on my iPhone and my daughter’s iPhone. It should do the same thing with your new Kindle. :)

  33. Guys, don’t blame the publishers, blame our Government!

    This is just censorship by another means, this time pretending to “support” Aussie authors. It’s also what keeps our book prices so high compared with (most of) the rest of the world.

    I believe a vote was taken earlier in the year (before the election) to maintain the status quo.

  34. I am in the buying a Kindle mode but tossing up between the 2 sizes. The smaller version looks like it would be a lot easier to hold and carry etc but there are a couple of benefits to the bigger version such as auto change to use it at 90 degrees amongst others. I am just a average size bloke so is the larger version more cumbersome despite the tech advantages. How much of a normal size page fite on the smaller version at a reasonable size font

  35. I’ve had my Kindle for 24 hours now and have not been successful connecting to wi fi. The Kindle recognises the wi fi; it’s listed under the settings, I have solid bars beside the list but it won’t accept the Password and Yes I have the right Password – I checked my Router log in.

    I have the padlock with the “connect” and when I enter the Password – nothing happens. Reading some other forums, I’m not alone, but reading this forum you’ve all been successful. Any clues would be appreciated.

    I”ve used Calibre to download a couple of free Classic E books without problem.
    Thank you in advance.

  36. I feel your pain Robin. My previous Kindle couldn’t connect to my WIFI nor can my latest one either. I’ve given up even trying but at least the 3G works well enough.
    I really think that there’s a problem with the device in Australia and I hope Amazon get on to it fast.

    • OK. Thanks James for your response, at least I feel a bit better in the “it’s not just me” syndrome. Yes it appears the mighty Amazon is not too concerned with its tiny market down under. Thanks again.

  37. Hi Robin,

    Try turning off the password on your router.. If you can connect the Kindle via WiFi then.. the password or type of encryption you are using is the problem. Surprised Amazon wouldn’t have some info on this on their website. I had a similar problem with my wifes iPad. Turned out the type of password encryption was the culprit.

    • Thanks Damien,
      I turned my “Security Options” to “None” on the Router but it still didn’t work. The Kindle finds my Network but it just won’t go that one step further. I wonder if its because I live in a rural area?? But if it finds the Wi Fi, it should be OK. I’m not too good with all this gear, so I’ll just have to download the books to the computer and transfer.

      Thanks for trying!

  38. Im glad you had some success Robin. One thing I forgot to mention is that I am pretty sure the Kindle only has 802.11g wireless. If you are using “n” wireless in should be backward compatible , but it does tend to vary depending on your router. No matter if you live in a major city or the sticks the WiFi is the same ie you create it in your home independent of locale. Happy connnecting !!


  39. Anyone have luck with surfing the web with their Kindle 3 for “free” over 3G ? My kindle 3 is currently en-route to me so I will have to wait to see myself. Be interested to know the general consensus though !


    • The only way I could connect Kindle to web via wi fi was to set security options to “None” in the router – as you suggested. No Whispernet, but could get online OK. However with those security options altered – my laptop would now not connect! Try as I could to alter the settings it seemed to be a case of ‘one or the other’. I admit I’m not really too good with networking and connections etc. And I wasn’t really happy about having the wi fi open, so I’ve set it back as it was before. Laptop happy. Kindle NOT.

      Need Laptop online, so Kindle will have to wait!

      You boys are doing better than me it seems.

  40. The 3G works really well and I’ve got around the WIFI problems by setting up a ‘guest network’ and connecting through that. Hope that helps others with the same problem.

  41. Is it possible to buy them locally in Oz, or only online through in the US. They are saying it is 7-9 weeks until they can ship to Oz putting it well past christmas for the delivery date. If i could get one locally that would help a lot.


  42. I have the same problem Robin has and I live in Sydney, Australia. I received a Kindle for Christmas. Although it sees my home WIFI connection, it has a lock beside it. When I put in my password, it tells me it is incorrect. And yes, like Robin my password is correct. I must have tried about 50 times already. It looks like I’ll just have to download to my computer and transfer to my Kindle. For those of us that don’t know a lot about hardware, it there a shop anywhere that can fix my problem?

    • Trying 50 times! Hi Jane – yes I can relate to that! However it appears if it doesn’t work the first time, it’s not going to work on the 49th either. This site works (if a bit slow) its an E book Converter.

      Have a look at the demo videos and then decide if you wish to use it. I first read about it in the PC User Magazine, so I hoped it would be OK. If you find a store that can help you – good luck. Somehow I think we’re on our own here!

    • This might be a bit late to help, but here goes … I’m an Australian living in Egypt, got my mother to purchase an International Kindle online and have it delivered to her in Oz, she then brought it over to me here in Cairo. Got it yesterday! Re the connection issue, I have no idea if this is the same for you but here’s what happened to me … It recognized my wireless internet connection but every time I put the password in it couldn’t connect, one of the screens (during my numerous tries) said something about checking the settings … I found the same set up for a computer … IP, DNS etc etc. Couldn’t remember how to access my router via my computer to get the IP address so called my internet service provider (Vodafone) .. on the phone together we reset the router so that she could pick up the data, she could see the wireless devices connected to me and gave me the IP address etc … as soon as I put the IP address in it connected (didn’t’ need to put the rest in) .. at the same time however, after that phone call only my wireless devices were picking up the internet signal … I have 4 other devices that are all connected via cable (directly to the router, not via another hub) .. called them back again to check if they had the settings correct .. a few minutes on the phone and she could “see” all the devices I had and all was OK. So it seemed to me that the kindle just needed to be set manually with the IP address etc and the answer was with the service provider. Hope this helps!

  43. Hi,
    Am just scanning the messages in the hope that there is an answer for my questions. Like some of the posters above, I am lucky enough to have family in the US who could buy a Kindle DX for me and send it here to Oz. So if that happens, will it be classified as an American model with all their available free books and lists? Also, would I be able to subscribe to the blogs? In another forum, someone commented (an American) that when they were travelling in Spain they were able to use Google to look for a restaurant in Madrid – so would my Kindle have that functionality?
    SO many questions… any help would be appreciated.

  44. hi,out there.have not bought my kindle 3 3g but would like to know ,is it possible to d/load kindle books from the usa kindle book stores.thanks

  45. Great review. I am absolutely hooked on the Kindle and am starting out a new Australian web-site completely dedicated to e-books. Check it out

    • I notice on your site that it’s an affiliate of Amazon. Does that mean you’ll be able to get clear answers on the problems Kindle users are having in Australia, especially the Wi-Fi access issues?

      Your site appears mostly Kindle-focussed. I hope you’ll give other devices and ebook sites equal attention. The sheer plurality of sites, devices and formats, not to mention geolimitations, are major barriers for Australian ebook consumers.

  46. Have been reading about the limitations on books thru Kindle when using an australian billed credit card – does that also apply with Singapore and/or UK billed cards??

  47. Worst fears being realised with few books I have been after being available (even Toibins “The Master” not being there but a study guide for the unavailable book is!!! ) – Then went for Jared Diamonds “Guns, Germs and Steel” but it is also not available (but others by the same author began with reviews saying words to the effect – the writer of G,Gand S has a new book”) Jane Smileys “A Thousand Acres” not there either so its off to the local bookstore to do some shopping – all in all very disappointing and not helped by the hassles and delays I had by using (with good intentions) the local australian distributor who charges a significant extra moiety for ‘convenience’.

  48. Thank you for the suggestion and I’ll certainly look at calibre. I couldnt get the second link to open (even when I corrected the spelling of ‘globalization”)

  49. Hi,
    I’m looking at buying a Kindle, I could use my friend in the US, she is willing, but, if I used a Aussie Credit Card to buy the books would that cause a restriction? Because I would rather not have to transfer money to her every day or whenever to get the books, it would end up rather frustrating for us both.

    So is it an issue if she buys it, and sends it to me, but i use my own CC to buy the books???

  50. I bought a kindle and I love it. I also found an Australian Author who has a really great book on there, one I had never heard of. Virginia Higgins and her book called Faerytale. It’s not what you think either. Occupy Wall Street amongst other things eat your heart out. The kindle has opened up to me a whole new world of reading. So many authors who are not even in book stores or very hard to find are suddenly available at our fingertips. I have no problems in using the 3G to download in the streets. It’s not a computer, or an ipad, it’s simply a book reading format, and in that respect. It’s amazing. Now I suggest you go find the amazing Authors that none of us have ever heard of. Some of them are worth the search. The one I mentioned here is only one of many I presume.


  51. I have recently bought a Kindle (I’m in Australia) – and CANNOT connect to any WI-FI sites. The only options I am given are to connect using a password, which is pretty useless. So as I cannot get in, I cannot make any comment about how it works. So it just sits there, unuseable.

  52. Chris, every WiFi network should require a password. This stops other people sucking bandwidth and data off it.

    The person running the WiFi network will have the password. For example, if you’re in a café or library, you ask for the password. Some networks charge a small amount per hour.

    If it’s your own WiFi, you should have a password. Either you set it at the beginning, or it came with a set password (possibly listed for you to see). If it came with a password, I suggest changing that password.

    To keep track of passwords etc., I suggest you get a good password program. On OSX, I use 1Password.

    I hope this helps. :)

    • Thanks for your tip. I have FINALLY worked it out. Took a lot of time and work which Kindle instructions don’t assist as they are geared towards the USA market. I had to purchase a Wi-Fi modem for my home – and that wasn’t cheap. The password required is the password that is provided with the new Wi-Fi modem. I note there have been some other writers who had the same problem as myself so this might help.

      • Chris, I’m glad to hear you’ve got it sorted out. The thing is, all our devices, whether they’re desktop computers, phones or ereaders, need a service to connect them to the Internet or to other computers. It’s a bit like needing roads to go places. So if you have a WiFi device and want to use WiFi, you need something providing that service. Some broadband modems also do WiFi, so that’s always worth checking. Also, some devices can provide WiFi (“hotspot”), so you can piggyback on them. So you might not actually need to buy a separate WiFi modem if your laptop or desktop (connected to your Internet connection by a cable) can create a personal hotspot for you.

        Regardless of where you get it, though, a WiFi device needs that WiFi service and the password to access it. :)

  53. Press 311 (ALT+EQQ) at the settings screen, tell the Kindle to manually select a network, wait a few mins and you will be presented with a network list.

    Second from the top was Vodafone, with a big tick beside it. I tried telstra to see if it would connect, instant fail so I left it on autoselect.

    ~Miss Foxy

  54. Press 311 (ALT+EQQ) at the settings screen, tell the Kindle to manually select a network, wait a few mins and you will be presented with a network list.

    Second from the top was Vodafone, with a big tick beside it. I tried telstra to see if it would connect, instant fail so I left it on autoselect.

    Bah, hope this doesn’t repost.. if it does, please delete the first, not this one.

    ~Miss Foxy

  55. I hardly comment, however I looked at a few of
    the comments on this page Amazon Kindle store + device:
    The Australian difference | Delimiter. I actually do have
    some questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it give the impression like some of the responses come across like they are written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are writing at other online social sites, I would like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your social networking sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  56. I’m an Aussie with an US Amazon account, used specifically for kindle content. I use the FREE Kindle app on my iPhone to read…
    After reading this review I will not be changing my account to (which Amazon is actively encouraging on every page I open) because of the ridiculous oversight of limiting the available content.
    I gladly pay the exchange rate as I have more choice available. This smacks of taxation issues (aka profiteering GST greedy Aust Govt) and is the same dilemma faced by AU subscribers to the likes of Netflix!

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