*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Kindle Android App: Japan Fail

Getting your Paperwhite to work in Japan is not such a big deal, so long as you have a wireless router at home/work for set-up, or find a public free one in Japan: PITA.  Getting the Kindle App on your smartphone/tablet to sync with your Japanese Amazon account?  Ha!
Customers of Amazon.co.jp will need to create a new account on Amazon.com
Fuck off Japan.  No, just fuck off.  There is always something in Japan's import or content laws to fuck up things for the consumer, and much like how they build, belies it as a 'First World' country.

I bought the Kindle hardware via Amazon Japan, and I checked I could reregister the location to Canada/USA later, as I am leaving in over a year, and because I assumed there would be reduced content on Amazon Japan.  The content is fine, but that the app doesn't link to Amazon Japan, but seems to in other countries is the usual Japan BS.  I don't even know why, or care, but can guarantee it is on the Japanese end.  (Canada's Kindle seems to link to the US, which is fine).  So I was wrong about why I would need to be able to deregister the Paperwhite and my account from Japan, but I was right that I would need to, long before leaving Japan.

What one does, and I will do, is link the Japanese Kindle account with the ebooks one has bought on Amazon Japan to a US account, or Canadian one (just make sure your account has an in-country address or you may have trouble), and move the Kindle registration to the same US or Canadian Amazon account.  I have an account in all three countries...  Because hey, maybe I want to be able to have my ebooks at both my reading devices, and even my laptop, all on the same account and equally accessible to each device!

Fuck off Japan.

And I still have not figured out how to get my Docomo Galaxy 3 to tether to my Paperwhite!

To answer kathrynoh's comment, "Why not just one Amazon?", much of it must be about licences and taxation.  And I do not know if Amazon Canada or Japan has fewer English ebooks, but I do know that the US site has them all, but not Japanese titles.  Still, seems like there should be one damned site at which you could choose your location and language, and Amazon sort out the licensing and shipping efficiency.  Maybe the way to go is to use your local Amazon site for anything physical, but the US site for anything digital.  You need an American address to avoid trouble, but surely everyone has a friend in the US...  Do not know how much trouble you might have if you do not have a US credit card for buying ebooks.  I have ordered gift certificate to relatives in the US, and physical objects sent to a friend's address in the US, all on Canadian and Japanese cards: no ebooks yet.

I am trying to convince the J-wife she needs an Android tablet so she can get her own Japanese books in Japan and in Canada, and for the hybrids.  She'd need to use the Japanese site, of course.  kathrynoh, have you tried putting in a fake Japanese shipping address?  For media it's not like anything will physically ship...


  1. Why does Japan have to be so difficult?

    Although, to be fair, I dunno why they have all this Amazon Japan, Amazon Canada etc. Why not just one Amazon? I did try to buy some Japanese kids books to practice reading from Amazon Japan but couldn't because I'm not physically there.

    There is no Amazon Australia as yet but I've heard Amazon Canada has a reduced range of books compared to the US.

    1. Hmmm...? Japanese Kindle account linked to your Australian Kindle account? May be possible, and given what I quoted of them above, they are telling Japanese residents to get offshore accounts.

  2. The whole thing baffles me. Having a million different accounts is so frustrating, I can never remember the passwords for anything and end up really irritated. I'm sticking with paper books now I've read this...

    1. Don't be that easily discouraged. It is solvable, and mine only becomes more annoying with multiple devices on the same account. The payoff of ebooks/magazines is huge: world wide access and lower price than paper, domestically, much less internationally.

      If you are interested in ebooks/magazines, start by deciding what one device it is most practical to do your reading on, and set up for that. An e-ink reader is easier on the eyes, and ideal for novels and long non-fiction; a tablet or smartphone has colour so is better for works in colour which are shorter (and you can turn them to white text on black background to go easier on your eyes and its battery).

      Either way, Google-Play (Android) has shit selection, so a Kindle device, or a Kindle App on another device, is going to get you the most selection at present (that will change). I eschew Apple, so cannot comment.

      For now I have Flipboard to send me magazine and newspaper readings for the train ride.

  3. It's not taxation as far as I know. Because I've been selling on kindle, all tax is US regardless of where it's sold. Also licencing is at the writer and/or publisher's authorisation. I think it's got to be making Amazon more money in some way.

    My amazon Japan account has a Japanese address. I've never changed it. It is blocking me on IP address.

    I have the kobo reader on my (android) tablet - I'm really hoping they shape up to be a real threat to Amazon.

    1. I think Kobo and Nook are toast, whatever their merits. Amazon's economy of scale and selection are huge, the 'Paperwhite' is a great device sold as a loss-leader, and the Kindle App is universal.