Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amazon Kindle

I bought an Amazon Kindle (6 inch display , global wireless) and paid USD$26.97 for international priority shipping via UPS. According to the shipping and delivery condition on Amazon, I should get my kindle within 2-4 business days. It was the 3rd day after my purchase, I got one missed call alert on my cellular phone showing that the time of the call was 17:30. I didn't pay attention to it as I didn't recognize the number and the next day I got a call from the same number at the same time. I picked it up this time, it was UPS calling for a copy of my ID, a signed declaration that declared that the kindle I bought would not be used for other purposes but private use and an authorization that designated UPS to pick up the kindle on my behalf. I was skeptical about the request, what's it all about? Was the National Communications Commission (NCC) in Taiwan worried that the built-in global wireless feature in kindle might cause some kinds of national communication crisis when falling into the wrong hands? I faxed the documents to UPS but it was too late to send the documents to NCC after 17:00. It was Friday night and I ended up having to wait for another 5 days to get my kindle.

What I don't understand is that the UPS is designated for kindle shipping internationally by Amazon, since I was not the first one who purchased kindle in Taiwan UPS must have known the rules in Taiwan but the documents required by the Customs weren't mentioned while purchasing. Moreover, UPS called the consignee to prepare documents after 17:00 which made it impossible to send the documents to NCC for reviewing on the same day, so exactly how did they expect to deliver a kindle to a consignee in Taiwan within 2-4 business days?

The firmware of my kindle is version 2.3 which can now display PDF natively, however, I can't change the font size in PDF format nor can I enable text to read feature. The unchangable font size is a big problem as a PDF file in a 6 inch display is too small to read. I tried to convert the file via Amazon kindle personal documents service system that converts documents to kindle compatible files without extra charge. I sent a PDF to my kindle account: hanjie@kindle.com, and right away I got the file in my kindle with a notice telling me that I have been charged USD$1.98 for a wireless delivery, and the delivered file still in PDF format! It turns out that the free wireless delivery only applies in the USA, since PDF files are a native format in kindle, the system will not convert a PDF to AZW which is the Amazon Kindle ebook format. There is a way to make sure the file you sent is converted and send back to your email without extra charge: type "Convert" in the subject of the e-mail when you submit your personal document to username@free.kindle.com.

I've learned the hard way, if you ever want to order a kindle in Taiwan, make sure you have all documents prepared before UPS calls you.

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3 comments:

Mark said...

Wow. That sounds like a frustrating ordeal. I've recently been deterred from getting a smart phone here due to

1) the fact that foreigners can't get plans without guarantors and

2) the nearly 30% cost added to certain types of electronics imports

Have you had any other problems related to using the Kindle here? I've seen a warning on the iTunes store telling me not to purchase things from the US store from outside the US, but so far I haven't bought anything restricted by region.

Hanjié said...

To your question, there are region restrictions for using kindle in Taiwan. Not like in the US, there are only 2 websites you can visit via your knidle 3G wireless in Taiwan, one is amazon and the other is wikipedia. You can buy ebooks in Taiwan via your kindle or your PC, but the price is more expensive and you have much less books to choose from.

Blogger said...

There is a chance you're eligible to get a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.