Last week I wrote a piece about how the local newspaper industry could evolve by adopting technology like the Amazon Kindle eReader to deliver their subscriptions. I went further than to suggest that people be able to buy the Kindle via a subscription model like cell phone companies make the phones they carry available.
Well this week brings us news that the popular Kindle is now available in Canada. Not only is it available but you can get your daily copy of The Globe and Mail or National Post via the device. But the launch is not as simple as it should have been.
A few important things to note about this launch are what features are not available on the Kindle. The device uses the 3G cellular technology to download content from the Amazon store. In the United States this is done via Sprint network but here in the great white north it is done by? Well we donâ€™t quite know right now. It could be the Bell/Telus network or the Rogers network. Either has their proâ€™s and conâ€™s. Another feature available to our southern neighbors and not us canucks is the ability to surf the web or subscribe to blogs via the eReader. A handy feature that makes the product more of an attractive buy.
In what I feel is the biggest failure to Canadian buyers, is the rollout is the Amazon store. Amazon operates stores in various countries selling books, items, and other products in that regions currency and with specific national items of interest. In order to get a Kindel in Canada though, one will have to go to the US Amazon store and pay an import fee to have the eReader. Not only that, but the device seems to be paired still to the Amazon US store which sells no Canadian content. Want an electronic copy of The Bishopâ€™s Man, 2009 Giller Prize winner? No luck! While it is available in the Canadian Amazon store, Canadian Kindel users will be out of luck.
This is where Amazon misses the boat on a successful rollout to a new region. eReaders have all the promise of a successful product paired with great content but with deployments like this, it will be a slow adoption if adopted at all.
While this is disappointing I still believe that the evolution of the local paper can be done using this technology. This incident however will be a stalling point for anyone who was considering the moving in this direction.