Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special Kindle International edition #2

This post is a special Kindle International edition of Frequently Asked Kindle Questions.  This second edition addresses people who are using the Kindle International outside the US. 

An earlier edition addressed people who currently have an earlier version of the Kindle (the Kindle 1Kindle 2 , or Kindle DX) and are in the USA. 

Q. I’ve ordered the Kindle International.  When should I get it?

A. That’s going to depend on where you are and what kind of shipping you used.  People have already started to report receiving them in Europe.

Q. Will I be able to use it out of the box?

A. Since the K2i (Kindle 2 International) can be charged using a USB connection, you should be okay with what came with it.  In most countries (but not Australia) you get a US power cord with it.  That cord is “universal voltage” (from 100 to 240 voltage…should be everywhere).  However, you may need a plug adapter, so it can fit in your wall outlets.

Q. I can’t find my USB adapter.

A. It’s the same cord as the power cord.  Slide the end off that would plug into the wall. 

Note: some European customers are finding that an initial reset makes it more responsive.  Hold the power switch (on the top edge of the Kindle) to your right as you face the Kindle screen for twenty seconds.  Give it a minute to reset itself. 

Q. How do I use my USB cord to charge my Kindle?

A. Plug the big end into your computer, with the design (the “Vulcan fork”) facing up.  Plug the little end (again, Vulcan fork facing up) into the Kindle’s bottom edge.  The screen should change to show that it is in USB mode.

Q. I have more than one USB port on my computer.  Does it matter which one I use?

A. Yes.  Some USB ports are not powered and won’t charge the Kindle.  Generally, a port on the computer itself is fine.  If you have a USB port on your keyboard, for example, it may not be properly powered. 

Q. Can I use my Kindle while it is charging?

A. Yes.  Keep the Kindle connected to the computer, but “safely remove” or “eject” it.  If you are using a PC:  in the bottom right corner of your computer screen (near the clock), you will typically see a grey rectangle with a green arrow. You might need to click a right facing chevron (like an arrowhead without the stick) to see it. You may see a choice for a USB storage device. After you click on that one, it should show you a choice for the Kindle. If it tells you the Kindle can not be stopped at this time, don’t disconnect it. If it won’t let you safely remove, you can shut down the computer. When the Kindle shows you the regular screen, it is safe to disconnect.

Q. Can I use it without charging it first?

A. Probably, but it’s a good idea to plug it in.  That’s recommended in the Kindle Quick Start Guide, which should have been in the box.

Note: if you are not using the Whispernet, keep it off.  While the Kindle is trying to find a signal, it will use significantly more power.  Home-Menu-Turn Wireless Off

Q. My Kindle International was a gift.  Do I need to do something to register it?

A. Yes.  It’s possible your Kindle was pre-registered if you bought it for yourself.  If not, you can register it one of two ways.  If you have a wireless connection, you can go to Home-Settings-Register.  You’ll need the e-mail and password associated with your Amazon account.  If not, go to the Manage Your Kindle page. You’ll need the serial number, which is on the back of the Kindle (in addition to the e-mail and password).

Q. My Kindle is registered.  How do I buy my first book?

A. This is key.  To avoid any possible charges, you may want to shop directly from your computer.  If you download to your computer and then transfer to your Kindle’s documents folder using your USB cable, you will not have any additional charges.

When you buy the book, use the dropdown where it says “Deliver to:”, make sure you select Transfer via Computer. 

If you don’t, and you are outside your country’s Whispernet area (for example, a US customer abroad), you may be subject to charges.

Q. How much are the charges?

A. For Americans when abroad using the wireless:

  • $1.99 to get a book from the Kindle store or your archives
  • $1.99 to get a single issue of a subscription
  • $4.99 to get all of your subscriptions for a week
  • $0.99 per megabyte (rounded up) to send personal documents

Remember that you avoid these charges by downloading to your computer and transferring using your USB cord.

Q. The Kindle store says I’m in one country, but I’m really in another one.  How can I change it?

A.  Go to the Manage Your Kindle page.   If you are moving, you can change the country associated with your account there.

Q. Does the Kindle International work all over the world?

A. You can read books all over, but which books you can buy and whether or not you have wireless access varies.  Go to the Kindle International, and you can check to see what the access is like for your country.

Note: just because there is wireless coverage shown in your country does not mean that the Kindle or Kindle content will be available there.

Q. Why aren’t certain books available in my country?

A. It’s up to the rightsholders.  For example, German publishers may not have secured the rights to sell certain e-books in the USA.  So, they wouldn’t haven’t prepared those books.  Now that Kindle books can be sold in Germany, it’s reasonable to assume that more books will become available.  In the future, it may be more likely that publishers negotiate for worldwide e-book rights.

Q. Why wasn’t my country included in the program?

A. There are a number of things that need to be resolved: technical; legal; and licensing.   It’s reasonable to assume that Amazon wants to do business in as many countries as possible.

Q. I think something is wrong with my page buttons: they are hard to push.

A. The Kindle buttons push on the inside edge, not the outside edge.  This makes it less likely for people with limited tactile sense to drop the device.  Push the button on the edge towards the middle of the Kindle.

Q. My Kindle international won’t connect to the wireless.  Is there anything I can try?

A. Yes.  Try Home-Menu-Settings, then type 311.  It may take a minute or two but you’ll be given a list of carriers to try.  Try connecting and if it doesn’t work, try a different network.  This may be a slow trial and error process.

Q. What if I need help from Amazon and I am out of the country?

A. You can go to this page to contact Amazon, either by e-mail (which is free) or by telephone: .  The telephone number for help out of the country is 1-206-266-0927, but remember that international calling fees will apply.

Q. I want to read up on the Kindle.  Where can I see the documentation?

A. You can get the manuals (even in other languages than English) at the Kindle Documentation page.

Q. What else should I do to take care of my Kindle?

A. Get a cover, get a recovery service sticker…see this earlier post, How to love your Kindle.

If you have additional questions about using the Kindle International outside of the country, let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

5 Responses to “Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special Kindle International edition #2”

  1. robin milward Says:

    I am having trouble determining Mac compatability. (I know its coming soon).

    I understand that if out of range of wireless signal,one can download books to a computer and then sideload via the usb cable to Kindle.

    Does that only work via a PC, or can one also download books to a Mac and then transfer to Kindle.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Robin, you can download to a Mac and then “sideload” to the Kindle’s documents folder. The Mac compatability that is coming is for what is currently called the Kindle for PC app…that’s for reading directly on the computer.

  2. robin milward Says:

    Thx so much fr your help

  3. Jay Says:

    I just received a Kindle as a gift. I’m currently living outside the US (in Croatia). The Kindle is in the US, and my family will be shipping it to me in the next few days. In order to maximize use, do I have anything to gain by having my family open it and perform any registration steps in the US before sending it to me? I’ve been researching, but haven’t seen an answer to that question.

    Also, it sounds like I can set my “home” country at any time. Why would someone not choose US – are there benefits to having the home country set as something else?

    Lastly, regarding wifi connectivity. Does the web browser functionality work based on the country where the Kindle is registered, or based on where it’s at? (i.e. does web browsing only work when Kindle is physically located in certain countries?)


    • bufocalvin Says:

      Congratulations, Jay! Welcome to the Klub!

      If you are a US customer living abroad, it makes sense for them to register the Kindle while it is in the US. It’s not necessary, but it may be easier.

      Amazon will determine your country partially based on information on the account (address, credit card, that sort of thing). If someone deliberately entered an incorrect country and it was detected by Amazon, they would be at risk of having Amazon drop them as a customer…which would be a very bad thing.

      As to the negatives of being a US customer abroad versus being a non-US customer outside the US, one issue is the use of the wireless. US customers using wireless abroad are charged an additional fee of $1.99 per book (whether from the Kindle store or from their archives). Downloading periodicals wirelessly has a charge, as does sending personal documents wirelessly to your Kindle (it’s different for a US customer inside and outside the US).

      You can avoid all of those charges by downloading by using a computer and transferring the files to your computer using your USB cord.

      A Croatian customer living in Croatia would not have that $1.99 charge. However, there might be fewer books available and they might cost more than they would in the US store. This can be particularly significant with the nearly 20,000 free books in the Kindle store for US customers, which tend to cost about $2 in many other countries.

      The Kindle works like a cell-phone, getting a signal from a cell tower. It will depend on local coverage as to whether or not it can make a connection, not on the country of the owner.

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