Buy Kindle books from outside US

The Kindle 2 / Kindle 3 is now available for overseas market as well. So please read the following blog post if your country is not covered by the latest scheme, or you want to know more about other Kindle information.

Got your Kindle ? Now time to buy some books.

If you are staying in US, buying Kindle books is easy. Just select your book, click the “Buy Now with 1-click” and Amazon will send the book to your Kindle with Whispernet in a matter of minutes.

However, you need different steps if you are not staying in US. Here is how …

  1. First of all, Amazon will not sell Kindle books unless you have a US address. Therefore, you need to change the billing address of your credit card to a US address (see my blog post on getting a US address for shopping).
  2. Next, buy your Kindle book as usual, click the “Buy Now with 1-click”. Then in your Kindle Management Page, scroll down to the “Your orders and individual charges” section. Find the book you just bought, and change the right most setting to “Download / Send to Computer”. Then you can save the eBook to your computer, and transfer to your Kindle with the USB cable. Simple.

Download eBook

Update 1 : I think I better specify couple more points – First, I use an American Express card and it worked (i.e. I am not sure whether other credit cards work like that or not). Second, I also needed to assign an US address in the 1-click payment method. Hope it helps.

Update 2 : Another possible approach (similar information here) is to use your International credit card to buy an Amazon gift certificate, and then buy eBooks using this gift certificate. Don’t forget to delete your credit card information first from Amazon 1-click payment setting. Hope it helps.

Update 3 : As mentioned in above update, you can buy Kindle books via Amazon Gift Certificate / coupon / card. May be it’s better if I detail the steps here:

  1. Opened a new Amazon account with an US address;
  2. Use your other normal Amazon account to email yourself a gift card;
  3. Use the gift card on your new Amazon account;
  4. Then, your new account has no credit card just a balance from the gift card;
  5. Register your Kindle to your new account, turn on the option one click buying;
  6. Buy a book with one-click with your new account and then download the book you bought to your computer;
  7. Hook up the Kindle to the computer and transfer the downloaded file to the document section of the Kindle;
  8. That is it !!

Update 4 : Looks like since end September, there are problems in buying Kindle books outside US. And that affect both Credit card and Gift coupon purchasing methods. One solution suggested is to use proxy services as looks like Amazon is checking the IP address of the order. You can find more details here for the moment, and I shall report back once I found a workable method to do that.

Update 5 : (2009-10-05) I tried to buy Kindle books with my Credit card method and it failed just like the Gift coupon method. However, since it is related to the check of non-US IP address, I just used Hotspot Shield to hide my IP address and then tried again. And it worked !! So, I guess it works as well for gift coupon method. However, this incident worried me a lot … For those who have not bought the Kindle outside US, please reconsider it before you decide to buy it. You may or may not able to buy Kindle books in future if Amazon enforce some checks again.

Update 6 : The Kindle 2 is now available for overseas market as well. So please read this blog post if your country is not covered by the latest scheme only.

Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

86 thoughts on “Buy Kindle books from outside US”

  1. my,
    “”First of all, Amazon will not sell Kindle books unless you have a US address. Therefore, you need to change the billing address of your credit card to a US address””

    i have hsbc credit card with billing address in HK. so, it is ok to change billing address when check-out kindle book as amazon will not cross-reference written billing address with actual billing address ( as some websites will cross check n verify this is the current used billing address b4 allow to charge).
    it is rather sad amazon not making it easy for outside usa customers to buy kindle n download kindle books.
    thks.

    Like

  2. Hi BCT,

    Yes that’s what I did, I changed my original HK billing address to the US address I got from onenow.com.

    It is unfortunate that we cannot get the Kindle and e-books easily, but I was told it is more about copyright issues and Amazon is tackling it. The next possible outlet will be Kindle UK.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  3. Hi Michael again.

    Does this method work with buying US magazines? Have you tried it before? I am interested in magazines as well as books, so if it works I am more inclined to buy it. Thanks again!

    Like

  4. Hi Gabriel,

    No, this approach works for eBook only, as you can download the eBook to your PC and then transfer to your Kindle. For magazines and newspaper, those will “download” to your Kindle directly with WhisperNet. And WhisperNet, the wireless network, is available in US only.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  5. my,
    many thks…still pondering if to buy..knowing so much inconvenience just to buy it, follow next by
    getting the kindle books. u have used it…was it worth the effort in the long run, the continuing benefits outweigh the one time inconveniences? if u not able to get kindle book version of a title, what do u do? thks

    Like

  6. Hi bct,

    Indeed you have to jump through several hoops just to get the device and books. To me, it worth the effort as it is easier to carry it around (now I have 10 books and some PDFs in my Kindle) and I actually read more in the last few months just because of this.

    And think about it, you can buy any other e-Reader in the market, but the availability of eBooks and the book-purchasing experience from Amazon is still the best. It is like there are zillions of MP3 players in the market, but people like iPod because of the overall song downloading, purchasing and syncing. I think Kindle is still the best option if you wanna start e-Reading (unless you like to read non-English books).

    The major problem to me about e-Reading is actually you no longer can easily flip thru a book, back and forth. You have to read it screen by screen, in a linear fashion …

    And when the Kindle book version of a title is not available … yes I will buy the paper-back version if the book is really good. There is really no alternative.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  7. Hi Michael

    Any suggestion on how I can purchase books for ‘Kindle for iPhone’, ie. I don’t have a kindle and simply want to utilize the iPhone for the books. Thanks.

    Like

  8. Hi Toddy,

    Unfortunately, there is no direct way to purchase books to your Kindle for iPhone. You have to go thru the same process of purchasing books for your Kindle device. Then add the Kindle for iPhone device to your Amazon account.

    Once you downloaded the Kindle for iPhone (for the method, please refer to http://www.michaelyung.com/blog/services-and-products/2009/04/07/kindle-for-iphone-from-outside-us/), you can link the application to your Amazon account. And then all books purchased before (for your Kindle) can be downloaded to your Kindle for iPhone.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  9. Thanks Michael. I went through the whole process, but on my Kindle management page, the ‘send to’ option only has my iPhone on it, but did not offer the download to computer option. Your advice willbegreatly appreciated.

    Like

  10. Michael,

    I just bought my Kindle using OneNow and a HSBC HK credit credit. all was good (although it’s still winging it’s way somewhere in the world towards HK). That worked fine and I followed your instruction on setting one-click and the US billing address to buy books, but I get a geographical restrictrions error. Any ideas? The Sample worked fine……do I need to get the kindle first and do something?

    Thanks

    Like

  11. Hi Chris,

    Glad that you got your Kindle. I think your problem is Amazon’s payment gateway rejected your HSBC credit card (which is a HK based card). As in my other post, AMEX card worked perfectly as their area checking is not as restrictive as Visa / Master.

    So right now I think you have three options, try register your account with a US based credit card; or use AMEX card; or use Gift coupon / certificate approach (i.e. use your HK based card to buy Gift coupon, and then use the coupon to buy eBooks).

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  12. it seems VISA will give away one’s location.
    b4 buying the kindle via onenow.com, of coz i’d like to make sure i can buy the books.
    therefore, i install the kindle app to my iphone and my iphone can get the sample book perfectly. then, i try to buy a book via 1-click.
    unfortunately, even thought i’ve changed my billing address to the one given by onenow.com, the 1-click doesn’t allow me to purchase the book due to the geographical issue. in another word, the only possible way for amazon to notice my location is my hk VISA’s number!!!
    since i don’t have an AMEX card, my only option goes to gift coupon… pathetic…

    Like

  13. Hi Philip,

    Actually the gift coupon approach is not a bad one. So do enjoy your Kindle, the reading experience and the good books after all these troubles.

    Like

  14. I happily downloaded books using the Gift Coupon approach (although still waiting for my Kindle to arrive!). I’d be interested to hear if you have tried magazines? Can you do a monthly subscription and still download to your Kindle from the PC?

    Like

  15. Hi Chris,

    Glad that things are all working. For newspaper and magazines, unfortunately you cannot do that outside US because all these downloads are done via WhisperNet …

    Like

  16. hi michael,

    which way would be cheaper to obtain a kindle? via onenow.com or ebay sellers who’s willing to ship worldwide?

    Like

    1. Hi Philip,

      I think I will go for onenow.com (or other similar services website) as I really control the account set up in Amazon, the delivery etc. For eBay sellers, I am not quite sure whether they will buy the Kindle from Amazon as a gift then ship to you and how you register later on. Seems to me a bit complicated if we go thru eBay.

      My two cents of worth and hope it helps.

      Like

  17. Hi.
    Just wanted to thank you from a new kindle user in Japan! I wouldn’t have been able to get around the crazy error message, etc. without your article.
    It is really a pity that Japan is such a Galapagos re: eBooks…

    Like

  18. Oops, I forgot to write my question…
    When I went into the “manage kindle” screen, the top line was
    “New: Download or wirelessly transfer your Kindle content directly from this page. Learn more”
    and, when I clicked the “Learn more”, it showed a sub-screen showing how to download Washington Post subscription.
    (Via the expand feature in Your Kindle Subscription section.)
    Does this indicate that now we can download magazine/newspaper subscriptions via USB?
    Or, is it some kind of fake 🙂 ?
    I originally decided to purchase kindle because getting US magazines/newspapers overseas is sooo expensive. I would love to subscribe to magazines using kindle overseas…any news on this issue?

    Like

  19. Hi Tazuko,

    Glad you found the articles useful … and for your question – No, there is still no way to subscribe magazines outside US as it requires the wireless connection to download – i.e. Whispernet.

    But since in Japan there is also Amazon … so may be one day you can do it. Just keep the faith 🙂

    Enjoy your Kindle and the world of eBooks !!

    Like

  20. I went through the whole process, but on my Kindle management page, the ’send to’ option only has my iPhone on it, but did not offer the download to computer option. Your advice willbegreatly appreciated.

    Like

  21. Hi Pieter,

    So you did buy the Kindle 2 and register it properly ? Some other people encountered the same problem and eventually solved (may be it requires some wait ?). For me, even if I bought an e-Book, it may take up to a half day before the new book appear in the list and can download to my computer.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  22. michael thanks,
    michael thanks for your quick response!

    my kindle is on its way bought it on ebay.
    already have bought 2 books and send them wireless to my iphone.
    that works fine
    how should i register my kindle when it has arrived?
    with the usb connection?
    to an amazom account with no foreign credit card attached?
    because right now when i go to the manage my kindle page it does not show the option send to computer,in the pull down memu ,just the iphone

    Like

  23. Hi Pieter,

    In the “Manage Your Kindle” page, there is a section “Your Kindle(s)” and you can register your Kindle. Afterward, you shall be able to download the eBook to your PC.

    One more point to note – since you bought your Kindle from eBay, you better check whether the seller bought the Kindle as a gift initially. If yes, then s/he can transfer to you and you can register it with your Amazon account. However, if the buyer has already registered this Kindle with Amazon, s/he has to de-register it first, otherwise you won’t be able to register it.

    Hope it helps.

    Like

  24. hi michael
    a short summary
    like i said i am in the netherlands and bought the kindle on ebay,it arrived yesterday.took two days by fedex.
    if you want i can recommend a reliable seller ,great price and dx in stock!
    i opened a new! amazon acount with a us adres (adres out of a phonebook or from a friend)
    used my “”normal other”” amazon account to email myself a gift card.
    and used the gift card on my new amazon account.
    your new account now has no creditcard just a balance from the gift card
    i registered my kindle to my new account put the option one click buying on and you’re done.
    buy a book with one click and then use the option to download the book you bought to your computer.
    hook up the kindle to the computer transfer the downloaded file to the document section of the kindle and you can start reading.
    hope this helps non us kindle owners!
    pieter
    reg

    Like

  25. Hope for magazine/newspaper subscriptions after all!

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks so much for your blog – it’s been a huge help. Got my Kindle 2 here in Melbourne, Australia this morning and it’s worked beautifully. Am downloading books no problem. I noticed many inquiring on here about newspaper and magazine downloads. It appears that there is a way as I’ve just bought an issue of the Economist. While subscription offers show only as ‘pending’, which will likely remain the case in light of the ealier message on your blog, it appears possible to purchase them one issue at a time. The latest issue of the Economist, for example, arrived immediately after I purchased it in the Kindle store and I’ve been able to upload it from my computer desktop via usb to the kindle 2 with as much ease as books. And at a substantial saving – whereas an issue of the Economist costs something crazy like 15 Australian dollars (about 11 or 12 dollars US), it only costs about 5 US dollars on the kindle store, so literally half price. The same is probably true for all the other magazines, which cost a small fortune when living outside the US. Anyway, hope this helps everyone out there who’s interested in getting more than just books on to their Kindle 2 when outside the US.

    Cheers and keep up the great work,
    Joe

    Like

    1. Hi Joe,

      Glad you find the information useful to you and trust that you will enjoy your Kindle as much as I do. Thanks for the magazine information, so it works for one issue at a time, but not a regular subscription ? Will try it as well myself, thanks for the tips.

      One more thing, did you get your Kindle via Onenow.com, Vpost.com or others ? Many Aussie friends of mine like to know this … Thanks in advance.

      Cheers, Michael

      Like

  26. No worries Michael. Definitely a case of ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’! Happy to help out and that it worked for you. And, yes, magazine and newspaper subscriptions definitely appear a no-go so far but with the big savings to be found in purchasing them on an issue-by-issue basis, it’s a pretty good result I think. I used vpostasia.com, which I believe you recommended for Australians on your blog, thanks very much. I can highly recommend them to all Australian users as well as others in the Asia and Asia-Pacific region as I believe it’s a Singapore-based company that will deliver across Asia as far as India and Japan, etc, and of course Hong Kong also – had my delivery via their US address in just 7-8 working days (not weekends). I’d suggest that people ordering their kindle 2 ensure they order all the accompaniments at the same time (i.e. the kindle cover and ‘mighty bright’ reading light). I’d forgotten to order the light, so was hit with another flat-rate 28-dollar or so (Singapore dollars I think, not dissimilar to Aussie dollars) rate. Just had my kindle 2 for a day and a half and thrilled with it – just uploaded via usb the latest edition of The New York Times, which works just as well as The Economist and the books I uploaded (except for Orwell’s 1984, which is double-spaced).
    Best wishes,
    Joe

    Like

  27. Thanks Joe for the reply. Yes Vpost.com is good, I believe it is operated by Singapore Post … so the service shall be great. I am also looking for a good clip-on light, but I reckon that will be a lot cheaper here in HK.

    So your Orwell’s 1984 didn’t get deleted by Amazon remotely ?! Good for you !!

    Cheers, Michael

    Like

  28. Hi Michael

    I just got a reply from am**n regarding magazine subscription. FYI,

    >The purchase and download of subscription items works just the same as
    >books when you’re outside of the Whispernet wireless service area. The only
    >difference is that while we always store your books on Manage Your Kindle,
    >only the most recent 7 issues of a periodical are typically listed, so you’ll
    >need to keep current with them to avoid missing issues.

    So, it seems possible to subscribe to magazines/newspapers outside of US.
    It is a pity they keep only 7 most current issues…
    But magazines are so expensive (and hard to obtain) in some parts of the world,
    this is good news for us!
    Hope this helps.

    PS I also found out that many undergraduate/graduate textbooks are still not on kindle,
    as well as many “not on NY Times Bestseller” type books.
    I send out a request to the publisher everytime I find something missing its kindle ver., and I wish more people will lobby for kindling books!

    Like

  29. Michael, hello from Manila. I just got my kindle dx today and my problem is the person who bought it for me did not indicate it as a gift — so now it is under his name and account. Problem is I cannot deregister since I’m outside the US. Will I still be able to get Kindle books from Amazon and put those books into my Kindle? How, please? You’ve helped a ton of people. I really hope you can help me too.

    Like

    1. HI Gin,

      I think in your case you have to ask the original buyer to deregister the Kindle from his Amazon account, such that you can register under yours. The other two not-very-ideal “solutions” are i) Every time you wanna buy a book, you ask the buyer to buy it for you. He then download the file and email you; ii) You ask the buyer to share the account with you or pass the Amazon account to you.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  30. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for your very informative posts. Am seriously considering getting the kindle (am residing in Singapore). Getting the kindle should not be a problem as I have a VPost account.

    What I would like to do is a test download of a book to see if i can actually receive it. According to your gift coupon method, I have to open a new account with an address from the US.
    What address do i use? Any random address? If not, where do I get a hold of proper addresses?

    Like

    1. Hi Prem,

      Glad that you found the posts useful.

      For your question, since you already have a VPost account, so can you get an US address from it ? (That’s what onenow.com does). Let’s say if you get the US address from VPost, then just apply it to the new Amazon account. And since this new account is only for buying eBooks and download, therefore if you cannot get an US address from VPost, you actually can just apply any valid US address to it (e.g. from an US friend, or even a company office address from any US website). Just make sure you don’t ship anything to this account.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  31. Hi Michael,

    Thank you for the quick response. I now have a new Amazon account to try buying ebooks. But when I tried to do a test purchase the said that I had to register my kindle first. So does this mean I cannot perform a test-purchase unless I actually have a kindle?

    Like

    1. Hi Prem,

      Indeed you cannot try it with this approach. However there is a get around, if you have an iPhone. You can download Kindle for iPhone application (please check my blog post on how to do this), register it with your newly created Amazon account, and then you can try buying books and download to your iPhone.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  32. Hi everyone,

    Thanks again Michael for this great blog. I haven’t been in here for a while but it’s always makes for interesing reading. I noticed comments about newspapers/magazines keep coming and thought it worth mentioning again that these can easily be purchased on an issue-by-issue basis in the same manner as one would by a book for the kindle 2. Yes, it appears subscriptions are not possible due to the lack of whispernet technology (or is it spirit/sprit/sprint or something like that) outside the US, but everyone can get as many newspapers and magazines as they like. For example, I often purchase The New York Times, and it’s only 75 US cents an issue; bet if you were buying them at a big newsagency overseas that imported them, they’d be at least five times that price; same is probably true for all the other magazines. So, my advice to everyone bemoaning that they’re not able to subscribe to newspapers and magazines, simply click on the latest issue and enjoy!!

    Best wishes,
    joe

    Like

  33. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for your information. I’m living in Hong Kong and I’ve already purchased the kindle through a friend of mine.

    While waiting for the deilvery, I’m trying some test buys. I’ve registered an account with US address. However I’ve got this message when I was trying to buy ebooks from Amazon.
    “we currently do not show a Kindle, iPhone, or iPod touch registered to your Amazon account. Kindle Editions are only available for these devices.”

    Does it means that I need to register the kindle under my account? my friend bought the kindle with his account, does it affects the registration? if yes what I can do to re-register the kindle?

    Thanks alot

    Like

    1. Hi Fean,

      Glad that the information is useful to you. Yes, if your friend bought the Kindle not as a gift, then he has to de-register the Kindle from his account and then you register it again with your account.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  34. Hi Michael,

    Been using the gift certificate method for some time now to order books. Today it failed on me. I just can’t figure why. I get the message, “We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.” I tried it for more than a one book and i get the same message. Do you know why? Has Amazon started to do more checks in the background? For your information, I am in Singapore.

    Like

  35. Re: Update 3.

    Warning – other country gift certificates are not redeamable on amazon.com. I purchased amazon.co.uk cert and when trying to redeam it I was told no, no. I then checked terms and conds and it clearly says that it would not redeam. Lesson learmed

    I have bought some amazon.com certs on ebay though which worked fine.
    One more comment, use web proxy to access your US amazon account, I also use SeaMonkey web browser since neither FireFox not IE displayed option to download ebooks when connecting via proxy – I recon it uses AJAX that most web based proxes will not serve.
    It worked with SeaMonkey though as it simplifies interface and now I can read all my books on my lovely DX!

    Like

  36. Hi Max, thanks for the useful information !!

    Hi Alvin, sorry to hear that. Since I am not using gift coupon to buy books, will need other Kindle users’ advises; or one day I will try it and let you know …

    Like

  37. Hi Michael,

    Been using the gift certificate method for some time now to order books. Yesterday it failed on me. I just can’t figure why. I get the message, “We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.” I tried it for more than a one book and i get the same message. Do you know why? Has Amazon started to do more checks in the background? For your information, I am in Singapore.

    Like

  38. In response to Alvin question. I just hit into the same problem yesterday. I managed to purchase two books , but two hours later I received the same error message.

    Like

    1. Hi Anthony, Alvin,

      It’s kinda confirmed that Amazon is now checking the IP address of the order (since end September) and to make it works, you need to jump thru another hoop … that is to install / use IP proxy software before you make the purchase. Will blog a post on how to do it as soon as possible.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  39. Hi Michael,
    Thanx for all the help.. i live in India and im getting my kindle through a friend..
    i’ve understood the procedure how to work it here nd get books…
    only thing im not sure bout is how to get a US address for the new amazon account to work?
    from where do i get it?
    can u pls help me with that thnx

    Like

  40. sorry again..wanted to clarify..i want to buy books using the gift card method…
    new kindle account requires a us address to use the gift cards?
    where do i get one from?
    thank you

    Like

    1. Hi Aditi,

      If you need an US address to ship something to, then you can try services like onenow.com or vpost.com.

      If all you need is an US address to bypass address check, then you can get any US address (even from a US site, or magazine) and fill into the Amazon form.

      Please note that Amazon is tightening the address and IP check, so do reconsider to buy it or not before you make the move.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

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