Sunday, January 04, 2009

UK: When will the Kindle be available here?

Why are we wa-aiting?

Of course, I know the technical reason given by Amazon: they have to sign up a variety of wireless networks to cover the whole of Europe before they want to go to the effort of introducing the Kindle over here.

But surely they must have some idea of when it is likely to be launched in the UK? I have been seriously thinking about buying the Sony Reader for several months, but each time I restrain myself in the belief that as soon as I do, the Kindle will be launched in the UK and I will kick myself for not waiting.

Today, searching for a copy of Charles Todd's A Fearsome Doubt which I want to read because it's set in Kent and I'm still working on my Wheredunnit book proposal [Promise to self: This WILL be completed by the end of January] I discovered that I could download it immediately as an ebook. So I'm all of a dither again.

There seem to be drawbacks and advantages to both the Sony and the Kindle.

The Kindle:
  • It's not available in the UK and there are no details as to when it will be: very big CON
  • Judging from the US website there are thousands of crime fiction books which I might want to read all ready for downloading: PRO
  • But - the UK website might not have as many as the US one, and we might not be able to download from the US Amazon - Sony US ebooks aren't available to UK readers: CON
  • From the available images, the Kindle isn't as attractive as the Sony 505: CON
  • The Kindle has a keyboard, so you can make notes on what you are reading: PRO
  • Eventually, when the wireless is set up, downloading wirelessly will be very rapid: PRO
  • There is no effective & attachable light for the Kindle, only those old-fashioned clip-on things which I've never got on with for real books: CON
  • Kindle books appear to be cheaper than Sony books, though it's hard to make a comparison: PRO
Pro: 4 Con: 4

The Sony 505
  • It's available here now: very big PRO
  • It's cheaper than the Kindle is likely to be, at £194, which includes a CD of 100 classics: PRO
  • It's prettier than the Kindle, and the 505 has buttons to make one-handed reading easy: PRO
  • A lighted cover is available for reading in the dark without disturbing anyone (or reading in most hotels nowadays): PRO
  • There's no way of entering notes about books being read: probably a CON
  • It isn't wireless. Can't see this as a problem for myself, as I won't be wanting newspapers and magazines. But never having experienced it, I might be quite wrong: probably CON
  • The choice of books from Sony/Waterstones (and other UK-available sites) is fairly limited. For instance, I couldn't have got the latest Arnaldur Indridason: CON
  • The books available from Sony/Waterstones are VERY expensive - 'The Private Patient' is even more costly as an ebook than it was to purchase as a hardback: big CON
Pro: 4 Definite Con: 2 Probable Con: 2

So I remain undecided - for now. But I don't think I can hold out much longer..........


Anonymous said...

This is a very useful summary for the ditherers (like me)!. Although I do not work in book publishing I work for a company that does publish books (Macmillan) - my colleagues in the digital part of the company seem to think that "DRM-free" is the important aspect for the consumer, i.e. that an e-book should be readable in any reader. My admittedly incomplete understanding of sony reader vs kindle is that the kindle is tied into Amazon, so you can only use it for books you download from there, whereas the sony can be for any books (also there is another reader on the market or almost on the market). Might bear some looking into if you do purchase - I think some publishers will be or are providing e-downloads direct from their own sites probably to avoid being limited only to Amazon (though they will presumably sell from there as well).
I'm the first to admit not to knowing much about it, though - so far I have no need for instant access to e-books, but I can certainly see the advantage to them in some circumstances.

Tsult81 said...

Re the Sony 505... there are many sites that sell books for the 505 in the uk, whsmiths for example, and many of the us based websites. The only problem I have had with mine is that it cant handle very large amount of ebooks... about 1500 is your limit before it seems to take too long to load up. The easy get-around there is to buy several 2gb sd cards which are very cheap on ebay. The 505 is just soooo beautiful - especially out of it's case. I highly recommend it - especially the red one which is available from John Lewis.

WhereDunnit said...

Sadly, the red one is out of stock at the moment at John Lewis - I checked last night. Hopefully they'll get some more soon!

Ann said...

I'd recommend a dark blue one because light grey screen looks much better (whiter) in it. And don't even install Sony's software, use Calibre instead ( Also, there is an online converter to Sony's format.

Dave said...

I have had a sony reader for 2 months now and think its great.At first wasn't sure about reading from a screen but found it very easy. It has recently gone up in price by £25 possibly due to the £ v $. this site is useful for ebooks

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