Online retailer Amazon.com will launch its popular Kindle e-book reader in SA and more than 100 other territories on 19 October. It will also introduce the larger-screen Kindle DX in SA “sometime in 2010”.
Amazon.com spokesman Stephanie Mantello says the device, which has an integrated 3G aerial so that books can be purchased and downloaded over the air, will cost US$279 and will be shipped to SA customers from its US facilities.
The Kindle, which can store about 1 500 e-books, uses electronic ink on its 6-inch screen to simulate paper. Users can download books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents wirelessly onto the device from Amazon’s online store.
The international store will offer about 200 000 English-language e-books, Amazon says.
This is the first time Amazon will sell the Kindle outside the US.
Mantello declines to say which of SA’s cellular networks the Kindle will support. The country has two 3G operators, MTN and Vodacom, with Telkom also planning to launch a 3G network by the end of the year.
Amazon says the Kindle will work with AT&T’s roaming partners worldwide. Both Vodacom and MTN have confirmed to TechCentral that they are roaming partners for AT&T.
“We’re not providing additional details beyond our relationship with AT&T since it’s seamless to our customers — no annual contract, no monthly fees, no hunting for a [Wi-Fi] hotspot,” Mantello says.
Mantello also declines to say if Amazon will work with local operators to introduce special packages for the device. “We don’t discuss business arrangements or terms,” she says.
What she will confirm is that Amazon is working to bring the larger, 9,7-inch Kindle DX to international markets next year. Pricing isn’t available yet, but the product sells in the US for $489.
Mantello says e-books will be priced in dollars, not rand. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral