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An international version of Kindle was released in October. I pre-ordered it as soon as I had heard the news. I had been waiting for the Kindle for a long time. 

When I started to read English books several years ago, I searched e-book devices. There were some Japanese e-book reader devices, but there were not so many e-books available at that time. Kindle seemed the best device, though it wasn’t available in Japan. 

There are several merits to having a Kindle. The advantage which I appreciate the most is price and portability. New books are expensive and heavy in hardcover versions. The e-book versions are much cheaper and the portability is exceptionally good. Although Kindle itself costs 25,000 yen, it will save money for keen readers when they buy many books via Kindle. 

In addition to that, downloading books via 3G network is convenient for people who live in rural areas. There are not so many English books available in Kagoshima City. I had to order them by internet, but postage was wasteful. Besides, every time I order books online, the packing boxes and delivery damages the environment. I felt guilty about that. Now I can choose many books via Kindle and I don’t have to worry about postage and the environment. 

The disadvantage of Kindle is that it only sells English books now. An article said Amazon will try to sell Japanese books for Kindle in the future, although there are some difficulties to overcome. Japanese has many Chinese characters which is more difficult for computers to process. Also, there are more than 2,000 publishers compared to America which has five or six major publishers to work with. It is tiresome for e-book publishers to negotiate with so many companies to collect a lot of content. 

The Japanese e-book market has increased in sales by 31% last year. Most of the profits were made by cell phone users. If Kindle succeeds in making Japanese contents, the Japanese e-book market will be more lively. I hope I can read both English books and Japanese books on my Kindle in the near future.




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