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US Kindle 2 in Europe
November 27, 2009 3:15 PM   Subscribe

In January, I'm leaving the US for Europe, where I'll be for the next six months, if not more. I want to buy an E-reader, so I can continue to read books in English, and also to save myself from lugging books back and forth. Given the circumstances, seems to me the best choice is to buy a Kindle 2 right now. Am I right?

Some thoughts and questions:
  1. I don't think I'll buy the DX, because it seems a lot of the features are disabled in Europe; if I'm wrong, let me know.
  2. I don't suppose anyone's tried the native PDF conversion on the Kindle 2 (announced two days ago) already, and can tell me how it is?
  3. Is there a difference between buying the Kindle here and buying it there? As far as I could make it, there's no actual physical difference between the two models, just a list of features that disappear. (I guess I won't be able to use the browser once I land in Europe?) In other words, there's no reason to pay extra cash to wait and order it from there, am I right?
  4. Any reason I shouldn't buy a Kindle 2, right now? Should we expect new sales before January? Big, game-changing announcements? Ideally, I might have waited for a Kindle 3 or Apple announcement, or bought the Nook, but given my circumstances, it seems the Kindle 2 is a pretty good bet. Anyone care to contradict this?
posted by Busoni to Technology (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I loaded a .pdf onto my Kindle immediately after the update, and it works nicely, if a little slow to load, and smaller than if I had converted it to Kindle format first. But the formatting is intact. If it matters, the book I tested it with is a cookbook with photos and art.

Now that the Kindle 2 supports .pdf and the ability to change on-screen orientation, the DX is notable only for its larger screen, larger size, and a few assorted features. It's, of course, better for .pdfs if you need lots of formatted documents, due to the larger screen, but the K2 does handle everyday stuff.

Seems to me like the K2 would serve your needs. Pricing is likely to remain firm for the time being, especially seeing how B&N and Sony seem to have underproduced for demand this year.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:34 PM on November 27, 2009


I'm just going to go ahead and recommend the nook. Unlike the kindle it has a replaceable battery, wi-fi, and an SD card slot. It also has that little color touchscreen on it, though I don't know if that's more useful than it is a gimmick. On the other hand, I think the kindle gets somewhat better battery life--but on an ebook reader that's probably trivial. I didn't know the kindle could do .pdf now, but the nook can too so that won't be a problem.

Honestly both devices are pretty solid. While the kindle has the advantage of having had more time to get the kinks worked out, the nook seems to have more versatility.

I wouldn't bother looking at Sony's reader.
posted by pandemic at 4:52 PM on November 27, 2009


See, I would have bought the nook, but the last time I checked I couldn't buy new books in Europe with it, which defeats a good chunk of the purpose. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though, anyone.
posted by Busoni at 5:37 PM on November 27, 2009


If you want to be able to buy in Europe you've got two choices:

1) Kindle 2 International. I played around with a few PDFs yesterday and while they did display correctly, the ones that were formatted for a 8.5x11 page were too small to read. So I'll still use Mobipocket Creator to convert them. (Which usually does a better job than Amazon.)

2) Buy the Sony and pirate all of your books. It works well with a lot of different formats. I don't condone pirating books in any way, but I have a friend with a Sony reader who laughs at me and my book-buying ways. (Which I don't understand since he's an author, but whatever.)

And you could get a nook and preload a couple dozen books before you go. I have a friend who just did 4 months abroad with a DX and said it was fine.

Reading back I'm not sure I was any help. But I'd go with the Kindle right now. A year from now all bets are off.
posted by Ookseer at 6:09 PM on November 27, 2009


I don't suppose anyone's tried the native PDF conversion on the Kindle 2 (announced two days ago) already, and can tell me how it is?

PDF's are a problematic format for ebooks. Until there is a good letter sized screen from a major retailer it will continue to be that way. However, if you are just using the PDF's for reference the Kindle 2 will work just fine. Rotating the display helps alot.

I would suggest trying out the conversion of PDF's to the amazon format with a few converters. Such as Stanza, mobipocket's tools, and Calibre. In my testing mobipocket's suite works best. I haven't used amazon's email conversion service at all - so I can't give my opinion on that.

Is there a difference between buying the Kindle here and buying it there? As far as I could make it, there's no actual physical difference between the two models, just a list of features that disappear. (I guess I won't be able to use the browser once I land in Europe?) In other words, there's no reason to pay extra cash to wait and order it from there, am I right?

Right.

Any reason I shouldn't buy a Kindle 2, right now? Should we expect new sales before January? Big, game-changing announcements? Ideally, I might have waited for a Kindle 3 or Apple announcement, or bought the Nook, but given my circumstances, it seems the Kindle 2 is a pretty good bet. Anyone care to contradict this?


There isn't likely to be any sales on the Kindle 2 before the new ebook readers start coming out in 2010. The game changer is probably going to be apple's tablet. With the apple tablet, I expect B&N's store, Amazon's store, and all other stores to be available on the device - just like is available on the iPhone right now.

See, I would have bought the nook, but the last time I checked I couldn't buy new books in Europe with it, which defeats a good chunk of the purpose. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, though, anyone.

I anticpate it is going to take at least a year before B&N's catches up with Amazon in the overseas ebook selling - and by then there are going to be more companies selling more devices - which will change things.
posted by bigmusic at 6:27 PM on November 27, 2009


Kindle warning. I bought a Kindle for my mother (who lives 6 months of the year in the U.S. but only has Canadian credit cards. ie. visa/mastercard/amex) on amazon.ca last year. I paid for it with a Canadian credit card and had it delivered to her in the U.S. When she tried to purchase books, they would not allow her to do so with her Canadian cards and although they had allowed me to purchase the device with my Canadian card, they would not allow me to purchase content for her as a gift with the same card.

The moral of this story is, the location of the Kindle, and the origin of the credit card must match or you may not be able to purchase content (grar).
posted by lunaazul at 7:10 PM on November 27, 2009


So if I buy the Kindle with my U.S. credit card, and take the Kindle to Europe, and try to buy things from Europe with the same U.S. credit card, it won't let me? (What the hell?)
posted by Busoni at 7:28 AM on November 28, 2009


If you buy a US Kindle, you must either buy your books with a US credit card or you can buy books with Amazon gift cards that you can buy with any credit card.
posted by bigmusic at 10:18 AM on November 28, 2009


Busoni, I'm not sure about how it would play out, but it's worth checking before you purchase if you don't want to go through the gift card work-around that bigmusic suggested.

What the hell indeed. Aren't visa cards accepted worldwide? Apparently not for Kindle content from Amazon.
posted by lunaazul at 6:40 PM on November 28, 2009


I called the Kindle support hotline, and the person told me that I can buy a Global edition (I don't think the option of buying it in the US was available until recently, unless I'm mistaken) with my US credit card, in the US, and I'll be able to use it and download books onto it in Europe. There is a charge for downloading things wirelessly in Europe, but that was expected.

So we'll see. If I remember by then, I might post the results on this page once I get there.
posted by Busoni at 5:45 AM on November 29, 2009


Kindle 2 owner here. I've used the PDF reader on my Kindle and been pleased with the results. Yes, normal 8.5x11 PDFs are rather small to read on the screen, but it works and you can rotate the screen to get a wider view. I also recommend Calibre for converting books yourself.
posted by fantine at 10:19 AM on November 30, 2009


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