The Kindle goes abroad

<p>Well, we were a day out. I heard <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/98681-kindle-time.html">last week</a> that Amazon would launch the Kindle to UK customers on 8th October, not the 7th as has been announced this morning.</p>
<p>Despite the prediction, there were several surprises. A fully international experience, with more than 100 countries able to download books to the device, is an exciting development. The $1.99 surcharge on each book downloaded in the UK isn't.</p>
<p>Possibly the biggest news for the publishing industry is Random House choosing to stay away, for now at least. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/technology/companies/07amazon.html">RH spokesperson Stuart Applebaum told the New York Times that &quot;discussions with Amazon about this opportunity are ongoing, productive and private&quot;</a>. However, Hachette's inclusion, given its problems with Amazon last year and this, along with Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Faber and Faber, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Lonely Planet, Penguin, Profile Books, Quercus, Simon &amp; Schuster and Wiley makes for a large stable of titles.</p>
<p>What will be interesting is to see how rights are handled. If a book has different UK and US publishers and a UK Kindle owner buys a book while on holiday in the United States, who gets paid? It may be a case that only books that a publisher holds world rights to will be made available internationally, but that remains to be seen.</p>
<p>Another slight disappointment is the lack of access to reading blogs or using its basic web browser. The latter was an interesting feature, something other UK e-book readers lack, but it is unclear if and when this will be resolved.</p>
<p>Many within the industry have commented privately that e-books will not take off properly in the United Kingdom until Amazon threw its hat in the ring. <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/">It has now although more is still to come. Amazon c.e.o. has promised UK customers that it is planning to sell the Kindle device and e-books from Amazon.co.uk. with that tantalising timetable of &quot;in the future&quot;</a>. It will be interesting to see how how its competitors respond.</p>