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Charging and loading a Kindle abroad
August 19, 2012 12:32 PM   Subscribe

US Kindle usable in UK/Europe? How to charge and how to load books?

My son is getting ready to leave for a three month study abroad program in the UK. He'll spend most of his time there and then have a couple of weeks at the end to tour around - we don't know where he'll be going yet, but I think it's safe to assume that he'll want to spend some time on the continent.
He has a Kindle and wants to be able to use it while he's away. I need to know if one of the generic adaptor/converter things will work for it or do we need to buy the Amazon-sold UK and EU thingies for it?

I suppose he can just charge it through his laptop too, although I think that takes longer. Also, he won't have the laptop with him when he is touring around for his final 2 weeks.

Also, we he be able to use our joint Amazon account to add new books to it? If I buy a book for him here, will it magically show up on his Kindle there?
posted by jvilter to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
 
American with US Kindle in UK here.

An adapter will work fine -- the big chunky wall plug thing contains the voltage converter down to the voltage the Kindle uses and it's universal. He can also just charge through the laptop as you mentioned.

But for what it's worth, any UK USB charger he gets (like for his iPhone) will be fine to plug in any other USB-charging item... like a Kindle, another phone, an iPod, etc. I do this on a pretty regular basis. All USB items use the same voltage.

He should be fine using whatever Amazon account he usually uses. I still use my US Amazon account on my US credit card to buy books.
posted by olinerd at 12:47 PM on August 19, 2012


And to clarify, it won't just work in the UK. I have circumnavigated the planet this year with work and personal travel, and my Kindle hasn't failed me in any country I've been in.
posted by olinerd at 12:47 PM on August 19, 2012


As noted, he can use his US account as normal worldwide. In fact, many of us set our Kindle country to the US as there's a bigger selection of books available.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:57 PM on August 19, 2012


Yeah, I would recommend getting a UK USB charger since he's going to be there a while. They're not expensive and using a plug adapter can get fiddly if you're using it a lot/moving around a lot.

I've recently started bringing a small power strip (and the appropriate plug adapter) when I travel. That way I can charge a bunch of things at once (e.g. phone(s), laptop, camera, kindle, geeky GPS watch) even if there's only one available power outlet, and I don't need to bring multiple adapters. Also you can use it in airports/train stations/etc. and share a precious outlet with others, making yourself instantly popular :)
posted by mskyle at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2012


I have a Kindle I bought in the US (I live in the UK). I've bought books on both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk and have had them load on my Kindle just fine.
posted by toerinishuman at 1:35 PM on August 19, 2012


The Kindle adapter is a completely generic USB-mini power only plug. Nearly all of these are switchers and will work on UK voltage with a passive adapter, plus of course there are UK specific versions. Note that there are two power adapters in the UK, the horrilby large and overdesigned 3-prong and the older 2-prong. You may face a situation where only one or the other is available.

The Kindle should update fine via wifi no matter where it is in the world.
posted by localroger at 3:31 PM on August 19, 2012


The only issue arises if you're using the 3G instead of buying books online and transferring. There's an international fee.
posted by syncope at 4:09 PM on August 19, 2012


Used US Kindle all over the world without issues, charges like any USB device. Used US account without issues.

The 3G fee never hit me, I think it's not often applied. This was while working in China, Malaysia and other parts of SE Asia. If you're worried about possible fees, you can get the file emailed to you and then sync to the Kindle.
posted by arcticseal at 8:12 PM on August 19, 2012


syncope -- no there's not. Only for delivery of some newspaper/magazine/etc subscriptions; not for just buying Kindle books on Amazon.
posted by olinerd at 2:10 AM on August 20, 2012


Thanks for all your input. I made the decision to buy this unit. If it gets here in time, it should be just the ticket.
posted by jvilter at 9:56 AM on August 20, 2012


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