Amazon hobbles UK Kindle

22 Oct 2009
Kindle

The Kindle International will not download images, or allow UK users to access the web browser

The Kindle International's 3G connection may be free, but it comes with some serious restrictions, PC Pro has discovered.

We've just received our review device, but upon trying to subscribe to various magazines and newspapers were greeted with the news that "Newspapers and magazines delivered outside the US will not include photos and other images."

This even applies to the UK-based newspapers Amazon has signed a deal with, including The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail The and Independent.

And that's not the Kindle International's only limitation. Amazon has also disabled its inbuilt web browser, returning the message that "Due to local restrictions, web browsing is not available for all countries", when you try to access it.

The restrictions are likely to anger early adopters who will have paid over £200 for the Kindle International, once shipping costs and tax are factored in.

And this is before they discover that they're paying a 40% premium on eBooks. In the US, bestsllers and new releases cost $9.99, equating to around £6.30 at the current exchange rate. In the UK the same books cost $13.99 or £8.44.

"International customers do pay a higher price for their books than US customers due to higher operating costs outside of the US," an Amazon spokesperson confessed to The Guardian. "Additionally, VAT rates in the EU are higher on ebooks than on print books."

We've contacted Amazon to discover why magazines and newspapers download without images, though it's most likely an attempt to cut down data charges. Amazon does not have a deal with a UK network to provide the Kindle's free mobile broadband connection. Instead it pays roaming charges through AT&T's Global Network.

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