Kindle 2 US vs. Kindle 2 International version

I bought my Kindle 2 (now the US version) last March, with a dozen of Kindle books afterward (see update 5 of how to purchase Kindle US books from outside US). Unfortunately, I broke the screen exactly six months later and therefore I decided to buy the Kindle International version to replace the broken one.

The new Kindle certainly looks the same as the US version, the screen is still easy to read and the keyboard is still difficult to use. Some minor differences are though:

  • The packing of Kindle 2 International version looks cheap, compare to the US version.
  • Once connected to my computer, the drive number of the Kindle is now I: drive (I suppose it stands for International version) instead of previously K: drive.
  • There are some new screen-savers.
  • The firmware version is 2.2.

Once fully charged the new Kindle, you may want to register the device first. Since the new device supports the phone network around the globe (US version support Sprint network only), you can now do it by submitting your Amazon account email address and password thru “Home” / “Menu” / “Settings” / “Register”. The submission is slow. Looks like the network connection is GPRS only, even though 3G is available everywhere in Hong Kong.

However, two important questions came to mind …

  1. Can I transfer the books to the new Kindle 2 ?
  2. Can I read the US ebooks in the Kindle 2 international version ?

First, I tried to copy the ebooks (as I have a backup in my computer) to the new Kindle 2 and it didn’t work. I believe it is a protection to prevent people copying the books (.azw files) from one device to another … each of the books may have stamped some information of the registered Kindle(s) in your account.

Luckily, there are three ways to do it :

  1. Provided you registered your device to your Amazon account, you will find your previously purchased book in the “Archived items” in your Kindle (of course you needed to register your device first). Just pick the books and redownload again thru the phone network – again the process is quite slow.
  2. I also tried another approach – that is log into your Amazon account, select “Manage your Kindle”, then in the “Your Orders” section, pull down the “Deliver to …” menu and select your new Kindle as the destination device. It also works. But that may incur the extra US$ 1.99 download fee.
  3. The third approach is to download the book again to your PC and transfer to your new Kindle. As long as your new Kindle is registered, the book shall be able to copy to your new Kindle without any problem (the ebook probably now stamped with your new Kindle information).

You can select the “Sync and check for new items” from the home menu to force the Kindle to connect to download the books. The books showed in the Home menu of the Kindle a while later, one by one … and I can read the books again. Even the books are purchased for my US Kindle, I can read it with my new Kindle international version – looks like there is no regional check here.

So far, so good …

Kindle international version in box

Kindle US, Kindle International verison

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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.

33 thoughts on “Kindle 2 US vs. Kindle 2 International version”

  1. Hi, your blog is really neat and useful, and I enjoy reading it. I’m thinking of buying a Kindle and I’d like to know whether I could use its web browser for free in HK. If so, could you share your experience?

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    1. Hi Jenny,

      Glad that you found the site useful. With the Kindle International version I have, I can browse some simple websites and also the Amazon Kindle store. However, I am not sure it is free or not, as I just did it. May be I will get charged by Amazon but I think I need to check my credit card statement later to find out. Lastly, the connection of Kindle is GPRS, not 3G … therefore, the speed is sloooooow.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  2. Hi, who are the dead authors on the kindle screen saver? There’s one picture of a man writing in a scriptorium with a lion at his feet and a skull on the shelf. How are these folks?

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  3. Jenny, Michael,
    If you read the fine print on the Amazon site you will find out that the web browsing is NOT available on the international version, so, apparently, all you can do is to buy books from Kindle in the countries where available.
    I myself was going to trade in my Kindle DX for a Kindle International version, since I will be in Europe for the next 6 months, but decided not to, as I can always buy the books I want via my computer’s internet and then transfer them to the Kindle.
    It was a major disappointment for me, since I am now using the Kindle not only to read books, but also to quick check my emails.
    Good luck.

    Like

  4. Jenny, Michael,

    I just read on another site that “In 3 countries, Mexico, Hong Kong and Japan, you get Free Internet and an in-built Browser.” So for Hong Kong you would be in luck. But check out the charges, sometimes these fees can be real killers.

    Michael T.

    Like

  5. Hi, thanks for the review. A (stupid) question on the 3G/GPRS network for usage in HK:-

    So, how does the charges go – say if I buy a book (not the cost of the book, but the transfer of the book to the kindle) or as Michael says, surf the web in HK? Does Amazon charge me for the connection? Or is it with whichever 3G network in HK that I buy a plan from? Do I even need to buy a plan? A bit confused.

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    1. Hi Belinda,

      As far as I know, there is no extra charge because the book price (for international version) already cover the transfer cost – that’s why the books are US$ 2 more expensive. And also, what I found is my Kindle is using GPRS to download books, but not 3G network. In any case, you don’t need to buy any other plans to make it work.

      Lastly, you can always download the book to your PC first, then transfer to Kindle with an USB cable. Hope it helps.

      Like

  6. I understand – but getting it straight from the kindle just seems much more efficient, if needed. 😀

    So, only GPRS? Just… how slow? I hope it won’t take forever to download a book. But if 3G is accessible in HK (for web browsing and whatnots), which on amazon it says it is for hong kong, and if I use that, does this mean it goes through say, my cellphone plan?

    Thanks! Wow, that was a really prompt reply. And – sorry about some more of these dumb questions! Thanks for clearing up my confusion.

    Like

    1. Hi Belinda,

      No, Amazon has deals with Telco already and the download shall not go thru your cellphone plan, but covered in your book price. Somehow I turned on the network a few times, and it showed GPRS in the upper right corner. So may be 3G is not yet ready, but I may be wrong.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

    1. Hi Belinda,

      Glad that you found those useful. Enjoy your Kindle … btw, an International version Kindle DX shall be available early next year – just in case you want one with bigger screen. In addition, there are other good e-Book readers coming from Sony, Barnes & Noble and may be even Apple.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  7. I am using a kindle 2 international in hk.

    When I turn on wirless and select Settings, there’s a small 3G logo showing on top right. Does that mean it’s already connecting to a 3G?

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  8. Hi Michael, I just got a kindle international and it doesn’t seem to connect to the internet. Any thoughts? My cell phone shows full bars, but nothing on the kindle. I have turned the wireless on and off and still no change. Help!

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    1. Hi Missy,

      I assume you’re using the Kindle International in a place supported by Amazon. Anyway, my experience is it takes time to have the Kindle detecting the wireless network (be it 3G or GPRS). In addition, after turning on the wireless, have you tried the “Sync and check for items” ? You will see a rotating icon in the upper left corner of your screen.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  9. I got an international kindle today, im in grand cayman which is supposed to be within Edge coverage and yet my kindle will not connect. Any ideas?

    Like

    1. Hi Lisa,

      I think Grand Cayman is not in the list of countries / cities supported by the Kindle International version (i.e. Amazon is not shipping there and they did not have a deal with Telco there). So may be you can try it again in another place like Jamaica to see whether the Kindle works. And without the connection, you still can buy / download books with your PC.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  10. Hi Michael,
    Fantastic blog! I just bought myself a kindle with global wireless. It is starting to annoy me though that all these “free” books would cost me $1.99 each. (I’m in Australia). Was wondering if the gift card techniques might help circumvent this or if you have any other suggestions?

    I haven’t been able to get a book via “transfer via computer’ either which is frustrating.

    Thanks in advance
    Belinda

    Like

    1. Hi Belinda,

      Glad you found the blog useful. You can use the gift card techniques, but only if you have an Amazon account with US address. Otherwise you can try other two methods – US books for Kindle 2 International version and Buying US Kindle books, without hiding IP address. I am not so sure why you have problems with the “transfer via computer”, have you checked out this post – Buy Kindle books from outside US ?

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  11. Hello Micheal,
    It is so nice of you to have this easy to use and very helpful website, lucky us! I live in the Middle East (Lebanon) and I have to send an email with the amazon kindle 2 link to my friend for him to buy it for me. After reading your blog I became aware that there are two versions (US and International), and my understanding is that it is better to go for the international version (correct me if I m wrong), but the problem is when you go on amazon website to order the kindle 2 there is no differentiation or specification that says Kindle International or Kindle US. Any feedback on that? If you can paste for me the links for both the international and US Kindle 2 it will be great. And last, do you recommend a must have accessory that I need to buy since my friend is coming next week from the states? Thank you very much!!

    Fadi

    Like

    1. Hi Fadi,

      Glad that you find the information useful. Late last year, Amazon just consolidated the two products to one and named it Kindle with Global Wireless. The only difference now is depends on your PC IP and your billing address, Amazon will show you the ebooks you can buy and decide whether charge you US$ 2 more for the wireless transmission.

      And for the accessory, highly recommend a cover that can protect the screen. I have broken one before …

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  12. Hello Michael,

    Great blog and extremely informative. I am in Canada and contemplating whether to buy a Kindle 2 “legitimately” in Canada and have it registered here in Canada, or have it shipped to a friend’s address in the US and register it there. Though the idea of being able to grab books off the ether sounds really tempting, the increasing effort Amazon puts into blocking cross-border ebook purchase leads me to believe it may be better to fly under the radar.

    If I plan to purchase and download ebooks to my desktop first, does it matter where I register the Kindle? If I have it registered in the US, and use an Amazon account with an US address, does it mean automatically I can get US pricing on books?

    Last question: I have a ton of non-DRM eBooks in various formats (mostly lit), will I have problem reading these with Kindle?

    Thanks in advance!

    Allan

    Like

    1. Hi Allan,

      Glad that you find the information useful. Yes indeed, Amazon will eventually block all the ways for cross-border ebook purchase even you’re so close to US 🙂

      I think as long as the ebook selection is increasing and the cost saving is still there for ebooks, I don’t mind to pay the extra US$ 2 for wireless transfer. Anyway, in your case, I think as long as you have an Amazon account with US billing address, US credit card, and if possible hide your IP when surfing Amazon – Yes I think you can buy books in US price and then transfer to your Kindle via USB.

      For your LIT books, I believe you need a converter to convert LIT to OPF files, and then another converter to convert OPF to PRC format (that Amazon can read). Unfortunately, I have not tried it before …

      Hope it helps.

      Like

    1. Hi Dave,

      Good question !! I actually cannot tell even I have both versions. In fact, once you upgraded the firmware to the latest one, I think one cannot tell.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  13. I should be receiving my Kindle DX in a week’s time. I live in Malaysia. Any advise on how and what should I do and not do in order to ensure that I can buy kindle books from Amazon?

    Like

    1. Hi Carol,

      Assuming yours is the International version, and you already have an account in Amazon. Then it is really easy to buy books from Amazon. The point to note may be if Malaysia is not yet supported by WhisperNet, then you cannot buy / download books wirelessly and you have to rely on the PC and USB cable transfer.

      Hope it helps and enjoy your Kindle DX !!

      Like

  14. Hi Macheal!
    Thanks for your kind advice on kindle usage. I have a question – I bought a kindle in mainland china in blackmarket and now I want to deregister the old username and replace it with my Amazon username which was set up while I was in USA. However it seems to refuse to deregister after a short connection. Is there something wrong associated with the connection in Mainland China – I am using wireless in neighborhood, without a problem in browsing.

    Like

    1. Hi George,

      Kindle uses 3G network instead of wireless (WiFi), so you many want to try again where 3G mobile signal is stronger. Hopefully you will get the deregistration done …

      Hope it helps.

      Like

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