December 7, 2009

Amazon Kindle in Thailand

I was so incredibly disappointed in Amazon not shipping the Kindle to Thailand when the Kindle 2 International was announced.

Recently though, I found about a local importer of Kindles appropriately named At first, I thought that the price they charge is slightly too high, but they do have a 30-day warranty, so I felt the price was worth it, considering that if I bought a unit through friends in the States or another country, warranty claims could be a huge issue if I ran into a DOA unit. Plus, they pre-register the Kindles they sell to a U.S. account and pre-configure the Kindles to buy books correctly, which is a great help for non-technical people.

Surprisingly, the Amazon Whispernet works in Thailand, even if they don't sell Kindles directly to Thailand.

While playing with the available wireless providers setting, I discovered that the Kindle's time zone setting appears to be retrieved from the provider. At first, the Kindle always displayed the time in universal time (GMT), but after switching providers, suddenly the Kindle was displaying the correct local time.

Even more surprisingly, I could "purchase" free Kindle books from my computer, and then load them directly on the Kindle by using the Archived Items folder, for free, eventhough it says that a $1.99 surcharge will be placed for international delivery. Maybe the surcharge only happens when a direct purchase is made from the Kindle.

The Kindle I got already came preloaded with the new 2.3 firmware with native PDF support. However, since PDF is normally formatted with the printed page in mind, so there's always a lot of margins. Hopefully, Amazon will fix this in a future update by implementing zoom or some kind of fit to display option.

I happen to have Pragmatic Bookshelf's iPhone SDK Development ebook. Here are some comparison shots between the PDF version and the Mobipocket (mobi) versions, in both portrait and landscape modes:

This is Kindle 2 displaying native PDF, compared to Adobe Reader 9 running on my MacBook. The text is way too small to be read, unless you're an ant.

Again, in landscape orientation. This is legible, but it can't scroll the page up and down, only "flip" up and down, so it's very uncomfortable for technical manuals that you need to go back and forth on, but it's okay for reading novels.

And here's the ebook-specific Mobipocket format. Stupidly enough, the Forward is marked as Chapter 1 in the mobi file, so the chapter numbers are off by 1.

The Mobipocket version is perfectly readable even in the smallest font size.

Sorry for the poor photos. The huge difference in brightness between the MacBook's screen and the Kindle's E Ink screen made it really difficult to get a consistent exposure, and I was too lazy to get my tripod out. The E Ink screen looks really dim in these photos, but this is not a review of the Kindle's screen quality.

Unfortunately, this Kindle is going to be given away as a gift so I only got a few days to play with it. Now taking donations to get my own unit.

Update: Kindle is now officially available in Thailand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about Kindle books experience in Thailand.