Jun 20, 2009

Kindle 2 in Canada: the definitive update

Since I seem to be getting a lot of my search-hits from people looking for information about getting a Kindle Reader in Canada, I thought it would be good to summarize what the deal is with that. So here you go! Hope it helps, e-book seekers.

1. Kindle is not officially available in Canada. They won't ship it here, and the wireless doesn't work here. You can't get wireless delivery of books, newspapers, blogs, or any of that.

2. However. If you can get a Kindle (by having somebody in the US order it for you and mail it or bring it to you, or getting it delivered to your hotel when you're on vacation, or whatever), there are a lot of things you can still do with it.
  • If you have access to a credit card from a US bank that's registered to a US address, you can register your Kindle. You can order books from Amazon.com and transfer them, via USB, from your computer to your Kindle. You can also use the free conversion via your registered Kindle email address for documents under 5 MB. You still can't get newspapers or blogs though, I'm pretty sure, since these are only delivered wirelessly. I'm not positive about that last bit though, I haven't tried it.
  • Even if you don't have the US credit card and can't register your Kindle, there are a lot of things you can do with it. There are programs available on the internet that let you convert documents all by yourself. You can download free and not-free books as .mobi files from an increasingly large range of websites, including the Gutenberg Project, and Smashwords. You can also, via a particularly wonderful internet-available program (which I shall not name because I hear Amazon comes after blogs that make this kind of information available...tyrants) download newspapers, journals, blogs, and other goodies to your computer in Kindle-compatible formats.
In conclusion, I'd say if you want a Kindle in Canada, and can somehow get one, it's worth it even without all the bells and whistles that come with the American service. Honestly, I've only used Amazon a couple of times to put content on my Kindle, and I've been using it extensively for months.

Free online content, plus the newspaper/blog feed program that downloads the Chicago Tribune, Le Monde, the Utne Reader, and my Google Reader feed for me every morning and transfers them to my Kindle in seconds, has kept my Kindle full of readable goodness without having to pay another cent.

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