Kindle in Australia

Mattia Dempsey, editor of Bookseller+Publisher writes in Crikey that Amazon's Kindle is finally being made available to international buyers meaning for the princely sum of around A$313 non-Americans too can read Amazon's version of books on a screen. While it's good to see such devices attracting interest and more than likely a few buyers at home, Amazon are yet to convince me that their device, with its closed system and proprietary file format for books with DRM, is worth pursuing as an alternative format for selling digital fiction (other than PDF).

For what it's worth, the design doesn't exactly float my boat either. But I've read enough glowing reports from readers to concede that chunky exterior may mask a more elegant internal design. That's beside the point anyway.

What interest me is how tightly Amazon dictate the terms of use for the device and its preferred proprietary file format. While the Kindle can display PDF files, all indications are that it does so badly. It apparently fares better with Word documents, but that's an impractical solution for e-book distributors. Independent publishers and writers can transmogrify their files into Kindle-friendly format, but I notice the process requires an Amazon account. Hmm.

I'll keep investigating and see how easy it is for independents to tap into the Kindle market. I may even report back here.