While everyone was expecting Amazon to release their wireless book reading device in the UK, they surprised everyone by announcing its availability to over 170 countries, including India.
Kindle India users will have access to a large library of English-language books via free wireless access. But it's important to learn more about it before you decide to buy a Kindle International from Amazon for $259 USD. There are a number of differences in wireless service and ebook selection available outside the US.
According to Amazon, Kindle India users have access to 320,000 ebooks from the Kindle Store, with 125,000 titles priced under $5.99 USD. The typical price for new releases and bestsellers is $11.99 (560 INR). Hard-cover versions of these same books typically cost in the $20 to $30 range.
There are also several dozen US and international newspapers and magazines users in India can subscribe to, including Hindustan Times, Indian Express, The Financial Express, and The International Herald Tribune - Asia Edition.
Like the US version, Kindle India users have the option to download content directly to the device using the free wireless that connects to Amazon's online store. And if you live somewhere that doesn't have a wireless signal, or if it's your preference, you can download content to your computer and then transfer it to the device with a USB cable.
While Amazon offers a wide selection of titles, it's important to understand that a Kindle is a closed content device. You can't purchase ebooks from other major online sellers like with Sony Readers. Picking up the free wireless service, Amazon wants you to download books from them exclusively. And it's important to note that these ebooks are American versions.
However, you can find a number of websites that have free, non-DRM protected ebooks that will work on your Kindle just fine. Some popular sites for book readers in India are Free-eBooks.net, Manybooks.net, and Diesel-eBooks, which together have tens of thousands of free ebooks.
For more information regarding specific content—ebooks, newspapers, and magazines—visit our dedicated Kindle eBooks Page.
Free 3G Wireless Downloads
The free wireless gives users in India access to Kindle's online store 24 hours a day. There are no monthly charges or hidden wireless fees.
In addition, Kindle International users outside the US can access Wikipedia with the free wireless.
While India doesn't appear to have 3G wireless coverage on the map below, India has decent EDGE/GPRS coverage (purple areas).
Kindle India Wireless Coverage Map
Total Cost of Kindle India in Rupees
For now, Amazon is requiring all Kindle International orders and ebook purchase to be in US currency. Why? Probably because it's too difficult at this time to accept currency from 170 different countries all at once.
After duty fees and shipping charges, expect the Kindle International to cost around a total of 17,000 INR* in India, and that doesn't include a cover, which costs an extra 1,400 INR or so. The device comes with a USB cable and a US power adapter; both will charge the battery, which holds a charge for 2 weeks of steady reading.
*Total cost is an estimate of currency conversion rates and fees. Please email and let us know if you experience a different price and we'll update the numbers.
The best way to find the exact cost is to visit the Kindle International Product Page, add the item to your cart, enter your information, and then let Amazon show you what the exact charges are for your specific country before checkout.
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If you'd like more information about how the Kindle International works, here's a link to the official Kindle Help and FAQ page.