Forgotten again: No new Kindles for Australia


news For the second year in a row, Amazon has decided not to launch the majority of its new Kindle tablet and e-reader devices in Australia, in a move which appears set to diminish the local popularity of the devices.

Overnight, the online retailing giant announced a slew of new models in its popular Kindle line. Perhaps the most visible innovation is that Amazon has dramatically expanded its Kindle Fire line of Android-based tablets, including three new models in what Amazon has dubbed its Kindle Fire HD line.

The original 7” Kindle Fire, which went on sale in the US last year, has received a revamp, with a faster processor which Amazon says will deliver 40 percent faster performance, twice the memory and longer battery life. It will sell for US$159. That Kindle Fire will be complemented by three new Kindle Fire HD models. The first also features a 7” screen size, but comes with a much higher resolution than the lesser Kindle Fire, at 1280x 800, and 16GB of storage. It will sell for US$199.

The next model up in the Kindle Fire HD range is an 8.9” model, which comes with a higher screen resolution of 1920×1200. There will be both 32GB and 64GB models, and a separate model which also comes in those two different storage sizes, but with 4G mobile broadband included through US telco AT&T. The 8.9” Kindle Fire HD models will sell for US$299/US$369 for the Wi-Fi models, and US$499/$599 for the models with 4G speeds – plus a US$49.95 yearly data plan from AT&T.

“We’re taking on the most popular price point for a tablet, $499, but doubling the storage and incredibly, adding ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”

Amazon is also introducing two new low-end Kindles – the first of which, the Kindle Paperwhite, it describes as “the most advanced e-reader ever constructed”. “Paperwhite is the Kindle we’ve always wanted to build — the technology didn’t exist to build a display with this level of contrast, resolution, brightness and battery life, so our engineers invented it,” said Bezos. “62% more pixels, 25% higher contrast, built-in front light, perfect for bed, perfect for beach, even thinner, 8 weeks of battery life — this is a quantum leap forward and the best Kindle we’ve ever built by far.”

A Wi-Fi version of the Paperwhite will sell for US$119, while a version with 3G mobile broadband included will go for US$179, and Amazon has also introduced a new low-end version of its Kindle e-reader series for US$69. All of its new models will be supported through ads displayed on the devices.

However, mimicking its behaviour 12 months ago, Amazon has not made its new Kindle models, apart from the lowest-end Kindle model, which will sell internationally, available to customers outside the US, including Australians. As with the company’s previous Kindle Fire line (and several of its other high-end Kindles), Amazon will explicitly block customers with Australian accounts from ordering the vast majority of its new Kindle models online. It may be possible to order the models through third-party retailers and importers, but this is not clear as yet.

To say that there is huge interest from Australians in Amazon and its Kindle line-up is a colossal understatement. Any article published on Delimiter about Amazon Kindles tends to get a huge amount of page impressions as Australians flock to see whether and how they can get access to Amazon’s flagship e-reader and tablet lines.

With this in mind, I am severely disappointed that Amazon appears to making an ongoing habit of not selling most of its Kindle models to Australians. Almost every other manufacturer launches their tablet products in Australia – Apple, Google, ASUS, Samsung and so on. The fact that Amazon chooses not to do so is a rank insult. If Amazon is serious about being a tablet manufacturer, it has to realise that its home market of the United States is not the only market which consumes its products.

When it comes to Australian launches, we can accept delays, we can accept slightly higher prices for the same devices, and we can accept slightly degraded services when we use those products. We’ve had to come to accept those things. But what we should never accept is that the world’s largest publisher and distributor of eBooks should just ignore Australia completely with its new Kindle line, year after year. Australia is a substantial market and shouldn’t be the sort of afterthought which Amazon seems to believe we are. Contrary to Amazon’s apparent opinion, the world does not revolve around the United States.

As it did last year, Amazon this morning had the gall to forward me a media release regarding the Australian availability of its lowest-end Kindle. Well, sorry Jeff Bezos. The fact that your lowest end Kindle is available to Australians is not today’s story. Today’s story is about how Amazon left Australia off its launch list – for the second year in a row. Apple and Google can afford to get their flagship tablets down under, it appears – but Amazon cannot.

Image credit: Amazon


  1. Apple and Google can afford to get their flagship tablets down under, it appears – but Amazon cannot.

    probably because they don’t have a warehouse presence in australia.

    • I doubt Google has much in the way of warehouses here, either. The bigger issue is the overall lack of amazon presence in Aus – almost everything you get from them here feels like almost like a loophole …

      • “The bigger issue is the overall lack of amazon presence in Aus – almost everything you get from them here feels like almost like a loophole …”


      • That’s exactly it. Amazon could cue up local distribution if it wanted to, even through existing distributors, but it won’t.

        I’m not angry or offended by Amazon’s attitude, I just don’t get it. Surely the company is well beyond dipping its toe in the water by now.

        • Actually, no, I *am* angry because we’re geoblocked out of buying them at all. 20th century tactics in the 21st century.

  2. I doubt Google has much in the way of warehouses here, either.

    yeah but that is not how their business model works.
    it is for amazon.

  3. As an amazon kindle fire owner(care of the delimiter give away) I liked the fire as a general media consumption tablet. It would have been an amazing media consumption tablet if the Amazon prime feature where available in Australia instead I had to hack the Google play-store onto it. I can see why the fire isn’t available here as it would be a bad experience for customers until they sort out local content access (I’m blaming the bottom feeders that are the Australian content distribution industry and the US content owners that allow their actions) Although i don’t see what is preventing them from at least offering the app store here.

    Would love to see a kindle paper white before buying it to see if I can stand the back light arrangement before replacing my kindle keyboard with one. I would likely even buy it at a retail store because like my kindle keyboard before, it is likely to be a snap purchase.

  4. I have owned a Kindle 2 since late 2009 and the experience has been quite good. Its a great unit to read by and still is going strong.

    I would like to try one of the newer touch models and have even considered trying to get a Fire (which you can through however the prices are much higher than in the US. Seems like we are being locked out yet again from the newer models. Seems like they want to dump the older models here

    The issue of content is a another big downer with Kindles. So much of the content available on line through Amazon is blocked to us with Oz IP addresses. It just infuriates me so much. Made me go and download a million books elsewhere. The use of Calibre to manage various nonDRM formats has been a fantastic experiment

    Amazon! your marketing is just so dreadful downunder.

    • There are a couple of publishes that sell DRM free ebooks direct is an example but then again I remember in the late 90s or might have been early 00s back before the kindle they gave away a CD with the entire book series as PDFs(and IIRC another ebook format) with the latest release hardback of the new title in the series.

      The rest of the content industry failed to learn from the music industry and has painted themselves into a corner. Users got used to low opportunity cost for accessing music by using “free” sources for digital content because there wasn’t anything else available. End result with the music industry was when they finally caught(or others dragged them) their customer base was no longer willing to pay what they wanted to charge and the lower barrier to entree for online content also meant that if you tried charge more that unless you had truly premium product you missed out on sales anyway. Globalization has reach a point where customer want to take advantage or same things corporation do and expect to be able source their goods and content and goods globally also.

      In Australia we have the major problem of content supplier charging a price premium over the global rate for a product that isn’t as good as what is available on the global market, in fact most of the content is as good as what is available from the “free” sources. So their client base is getting used to a lower opportunity cost for the content and when they finally catch up their customer base will no longer be willing to pay the price they are used to. They can whinge and complain about piracy as much as they want but if you try to charge a premium for a worst product you will usually lose out(not everyone can be Apple and even they are beginning to change).

  5. “(I’m blaming the bottom feeders that are the Australian content distribution industry and the US content owners that allow their actions) ”

    Yep – the who scumbag American content control system – going all around the world.

    I don’t support “freeware / costless content” but I understand why people just don’t put up with the bullshit from the corporate moron types.

  6. Amazon cannot do much with the Kindle Fire in Australia unless and until they have the necessary local content deals.

    The Fire is about user experience and content. If you cannot deliver most of that content, then the user will be dissatisfied.

    Google’s Nexus is available in Australia, but does not have all the content offerings it was designed for. That’s fine, Google decided that 80% was good enough for a tablet that was meant to do more than just content consumption.

    Amazon wouldn’t even have that 80%. They would need to make local music deals, movie deals, maybe get local magazines on board… and since content is all Amazon offers, it would not make business sense to launch without the entire enchilada.

    These are some sexy tablets, but they would be crippled in Australia. One only hopes that Amazon is developing those content deals here for down the track.

  7. Firstly to SMEMatt I remember that CD from Baen EBooks as well. From recollection it was the 5th or sth in the Honor Harrington Series.
    On topic though Amazon infuriates me with their blocking of Aussie IP addresses too. What I have never been able to find out is why the Dept of Fareign Affairs and Trade allows this. I thought that we had a free trade agreement with the US, surely this blocking of Australian purchsing rights would be a violation of that agreement as it is a trade barrier!

  8. AFAIK the FTA with the USA was more for creating trade benefit for the USA than the other way around. We were short changed and we know who to thank for it.
    Each day on the Internet I hit the USA Corporations firewall of American happiness in which we are advised “This content has not been made available in your location”. But don’t worry, Yanks suffer it too at times, specifically if it is embarrassing news about them. American’s know when something is up as global IP blackouts suddenly occur *chuckle*
    Simply do what everyone does if you’re that desperate to have their crap. Secure Proxy. If you’re doing it a fair bit of buying from there, it really doesn’t cost that much. And don’t forget the American rule, if there is profit in it, OK! It really is their Achilles heel :{D

  9. We haven’t been “forgotten again”, we’ve been deliberately blocked. Apparently our money is bathed in the blood of innocents or something, because they refuse to take it.

    • I’ll second this. I own a base model kindle and had the kindle keyboard before that. I’ve never been interested in the touchscreen features nor overly enamoured with the tablet, since they don’t actually make reading any better.

      The paperwhite is a different story. it’s higher res, higher contrast, and the lighting looks far better and more convenient than any other e-ink reader. I’d probably have already ordered one if it was available. I can understand the fire model not being for sale due to content distribution issues, but the paperwhite can’t do anything the base model can’t do.

  10. As @seven_tech says: buy the Nexus 7

    I am loving mine :)

    I have purchased books from Amazon in the past but have not for a long time due to their dumb ass restrictions on buying from Australia.

    If you don’t like the behaviour of a company, then don’t buy from them. I do not personally believe any product is a must have so have no issues with forgoing buying from companies that have policies that irritate me. If they want to make money from me they will need to sell what I want at a globally competitive price.

    • @watertowers

      I know! How good is the Nexus 7!

      And my thoughts exactly. I currently don’t like how Apple OR Samsung are acting. I also don’t like their mobile products, or Apple’s PC products (although I have to admit a penchant for the Samsung 9 series Laptops….mmmm, delicious). So I don’t buy their products or services. Simple enough. However, if one becomes a dominant monopoly, THAT’s when it becomes hard to vote against them by buying someone else….which is the way we’re headed.

      Amazon need to learn decent trade practices and global markets.

    • as someone who is seriously considering a nexus 7, what have you found to be the best spot to buy books from? google themselves?

      i would be very interested to know, as i have been an amazon customer for quite a while, but like others, am considering moving on…

  11. I too am a little insulted by Amazon’s neglect of Australia as a worthwhile market. I’ve owned a kindle for two years and looking now at the new Kobo, as I’m prepared to switch as this point, because of their behaviour.

Comments are closed.