Ordering the latest 6 inch Kindle 3 from Amazon to India

This just might be your “definitive” guide to ordering the new Kindle Wi-Fi, 6″ Display, Graphite – Latest Generation (also known as Kindle 3) from India. If you are planning to order one or simply curious to know how the process of ordering the Kindle in India from Amazon.com is like, this blogpost should cover most of your queries.

I woke up one day and decided that I wanted to buy a Kindle. No plans, no prior thoughts. I just wanted one. May it something that was brewing in my subconscious mind since a while. Every year I indulge myself in an expensive gift on my birthday. Not that I don’t buy gadgets all around the year, but buying it near my birthday just makes me feel less guilty!

One thing that was keeping me from ordering it there and then was whether to go for an iPad or the Kindle. I read a few blogs, consulted a few friends and finally decided that Apple was in a different game altogether and not directly competing with the Kindle. The iPad was a “multi purpose” entertainment and computing device, whereas the Kindle was a dedicated e-book reader which did only one thing – display eBooks. Having both a Macbook Pro and an iPhone, I was certain I didn’t need an iPad to carry with me all the time. Besides, the iPad was heavy, tad heavy. It was hard to hold it as elegantly as Steve Jobs did in his demo. That must have taken weeks of practice!

Like a true Indian, I began my quest for finding out where and how I can get the Kindle the cheapest. I was told that ordering it from Amazon.com would cost in excess of Rs. 10000. Since I was aiming for the $139 model (without 3G), paying a generous Rs. 3000 (Rs. 10000 – 139*50) towards shipping and customs was hard to digest.

Amazon charges a hefty import duty on electronic items being shipped from abroad. The same is not true for other countries. I had a friend who happened to be in Germany at that time and I planned to get the item shipped to his house to save on that duty. However, things didn’t work out for some reasons. I was also informed about websites like http://www.shopyourworld.com which supposedly do a good job of shipping the Kindle to India.

Nevertheless I decided to go ahead with the order. The ordering process was simple and Amazon showed me an estimate of how much the total order will cost (including shipping and customs) before I actually placed the order. The breakup was something like this-

Subtotal: $139.00
Shipping and Handling: $20.98
Customs: $56.34
Order total: $216.32

The order was placed on October 4 2010. The initial estimates for shipping and arrival were the following:

Estimated shipping: October 12 – October 15
Estimated delivery: October 18 – October 25

As it turned out, it was way off course. On 12 October, I got an email that my Kindle has been shipped and my credit card was charged. (Amazon.com does not charge your card till they are on the verge of shipping your item. You may even cancel your order before it gets shipped.). In rupees, I was charged Rs. 9966 by my bank.

The email contained the AWB (Airway Bill) number for DHL, which did an amazing job of tracking my shipment at each step through the DHL.com website. I could literally track my Kindle being shipped from country to country as it moved towards India. By the second day, it had reached New Delhi and cleared from customs. On the evening of the third day (15 October), the Kindle was delivered to my address.

The Kindle arrived perfectly wrapped in a neat box made of recycled cardboard paper and easy to tear “frustration free” packaging. See a few YouTube videos on Kindle unboxing to see what I mean.

Before writing this blog post, I put the Kindle to the ultimate test. I ordered one full e-book on Amazon.com and read it non-stop in 8 hours straight. The whole experience was absolutely mind boggling. The “electronic ink” display appears just like paper and to the brain and the eye, it’s exactly the same sensation as reading from a physical book. There was absolutely no strain on the eyes, since the display was not backlit. However, unlike other displays, it needed a source of light nearby to keep the Kindle’s display visible.

The page flip buttons were also an absolute pleasure. The buttons depressed with just the right amount of pressure, hard enough to not get pressed accidentally and soft enough to not hurt your fingers during repeated use. The keyboard keys were really hard though. It took a real push to punch in keystrokes while entering passwords or titles to search on the Amazon store.

Few positive surprises:

1. There are a few Indian newspapers and magazines you can subscribe to. They include Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Financial Express and Mint. The costs are hefty though. One month of HT will cost $9.99 and you can download a single issue for $0.50. That’s more than 5 times the price of the printed version. India Today is the only Indian magazine available on the Kindle.

2. The device can be password protected.

3. You can download a free sample of all books (which generally contains about 1 chapter of the book) before you go ahead and buy the full book. All newspapers and magazines also have a free 14 day trial.

4. The Kindle can store and play songs while you read.

5. Amazon has an amazing and very responsive customer support. You can ask them any questions you have before placing your order and they’ll reply within a few hours. I emailed them atleast twice for different concerns before placing the order. They were extremely quick and helpful. Amazon also has a section called “warehouse deals” where refurbished Kindles are sold on Amazon.com for very high discounts.

6. I have heard a few people saying that there may be a small refund due to me since the custom duty collected during my order is the maximum it can probably be charged but it is generally cleared for much less. The refund takes a good 3 months to arrive though. Amazon’s customer care will not comment on this issue incase you inquire.

There are a few downsides too:

1. The screen initially feels very primitive compared to the super bright and high resolution displays found in TV’s and laptops. You’ll get used to it very soon though. It’s not a touch screen too.

2. Even though you can grab the Kindle with one hand, if you hold it by the edges you are bound to press the page flip buttons thereby losing the page you were on. You can however lock the screen and keypad to avoid this.

3. A sense of monotonicity starts to set in after a while. When you buy a physical book, each book has a new cover, a new font and a new feel to it. With the Kindle, each book will look the same, exactly the same.

4. A true book lover loves the process of buying books as much as he enjoys reading it. With Amazon, each book is a click away. Very soon, you’ll start missing your trips to the book store.

5. Not all books are available in Kindle format. If you are looking for a specific title, there is a good chance it will not be available.

6. Most books are completely text. Most images or photos in the book are not included in the Kindle version.

7. The e-book format is not as expensive as the print format but it’s not cheap either. Remember, Amazon’s primary motive of selling the Kindle this cheap is so that it can make solid profits selling books.

8. The Kindle supports a landscape mode for reading as well. But the page flip buttons don’t suit that page layout.

9. The Kindle cover is necessary if you plan to carry it around with you without having other objects in your bag damage the screen. Some people have suggested that I can use a laptop sleeve or a simple cloth bag to carry it. Sure I can, but the original Amazon cover looks very tempting. It’s very expensive though, costing about $35, adding significantly to the total cost of ownership. If you do plan to buy it however, book it in the same order since shipping it later separately will turn out to be more expensive by about $20.

Overall, I think the Kindle is an amazing piece of technology and an absolute “must have” for any avid book reader. Incase I left out anything or you have any specific questions about the ordering process or about the Kindle itself, please add it as a comment.

Update: I got a refund of $16.83 from Amazon on 15 December 2010 stating the reason as “Export fee reduced” and the same was charged back to my credit card. Hence the net cost of owning the Kindle turns out to be Rs. 9966 – 727 = Rs. 9239.

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Comments

  1. Can you also give an overview on its WIFI and experimental web browsing capabilities ? Could this be connected to our our WIFI routers in India ?

    Also , I am planning to buy it from shopyourworld.com as they are giving some 10% discounts for HDFC credit cards. Do you have any idea on how reliable they are ?

  2. It connects to any WiFi router in your house just like any other laptop or mobile device. The web browser sucks big time though. Since the display takes a while to refresh, dynamic sites (like the Twitter homepage) can never render properly. Otherwise also, it’s slow and all black and white.

    A friend I trust recommended me ShopYourWorld.com, so I believe it might be good. But I have no first hand experience to share with you.

  3. Thanks for the good post. I read it in full after ordering mine. I was wondering when will sawrb get his. ( Attributing sawrb for my purchase here ) I remember we had a chat about it two months back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. The web browser sucks big time though. Since the display takes a while to refresh, dynamic sites (like the Twitter homepage) can never render properly. Otherwise also, it’s slow and all black and white.

  5. Wow, I wish I had known this earlier. Just ordered a Kindle cover through a friend visiting India next month. Just to add on, some people have also suggested that an iPad cover will also do.

  6. Not sure how good a fit it’ll be but their reader is quite close in dimensions to the kindle. Please let everyone know how it fits if you decide to try.

  7. can we read ebooks which we download from sites other than amazon.com on kindle..or we have to download ebooks only from amazon store..and can we read scanned versions of books on kindle?..as scanned versions are merely images of the books and kindle doesn’t support image viewing.

  8. You can read any PDF on the Kindle. Infact, Amazon makes it pretty easy to send e-books to your device. You get a dedicated email address (like yourname@kindle.com) to which you can send emails with PDF attachments. They automatically get downloaded to your Kindle). But be prepared to magnify/scroll through the text a lot since the text size and page layout will not be suited to the Kindle. Same goes for scanned books etc. It’s not very comfortable, IMHO.

  9. Hi Gaurav,
    Well written post. I’m planning to buy Kindle 3 (without 3G as it is not of much use in India, I heard) with the cover, of course :). I have a few questions:
    1) We can transfer books of the required format from our laptop to Kindle, right?
    2) How is the web browser facility with Kindle 3? I mean its speed to check e-mail (gmail, yahoo) alone?
    3) How would you compare Wink and Kindle 3?
    Please do let me know.
    Thanks.

  10. Hi Poornima,

    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you found the Kindle 3 review useful.

    Regarding your queries,

    1. You can transfer books in PDF format to your Kindle, either via connecting it via USB or just emailing the PDF as an attachment to a dedicated email address Amazon assigns to your Kindle. However, don’t expect them to render as well as books natively meant to display on a Kindle.

    2. The browser is merely an experimental feature. It’s slow and painful. I wouldn’t really recommend that you rely on it for checking mail etc.

    3. I have absolutely no idea about the Wink ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Haven’t tried Infibeam PI myself but if I’m putting my money on a gadget, I usually prefer the one that is tried and appreciated by a few people.

  12. Happened to see your review of the Kindle. The infibeam website has some ebooks, including a few Harry Potter, in Adobe Ebook format. Does Kindle support these formats? In the 6″ version, I assume the entire page fits the screen. Is it possible to read in this scenario or does one need to use the zoom feature? What about reading in the dark/low light conditions?

  13. Haven’t seen or used the Infibeam reader, so don’t have much to say there. The 6 inch Kindle screen does not require any scrolling while reading because if you enlarge the text too much, the page will fit fewer words. Kindle screen is NOT backlit (this is a feature, not a bug) and hence needs a good ambient light for you to read in. There is also a Kindle cover on Amazon.com which has a small LED fit in to enable you to read and night.

  14. Thanks Gaurav for nice post.
    Last week only yesterday only I decided to but Kindle. I read whole blog without blink my eyes :). I am very keen to get Kindle in my hand.

    Cheers,
    Umesh.

  15. Gaurav, a very nice write up on Kindle. I have also ordered one on amazon. Hope Kindle fulfils my expectations.

  16. Kindle = Completely great in reading as it has e-ink, rest everything sucks about it. ya, everything.

    btw, nice write up dude ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. hey, does kindle have a port to connect a pen drive, so that i can copy books from my pc?

  18. Yes, you can connect your Kindle to a PC via it’s mini-USB port and transfer books, PDF’s, music etc. to it. You can effectively use it as a pen drive.

  19. Why didn’t shipping to Germany and then to India work out?

    I’m contemplating of shipping to someone in US and then to India. Will there be any customs if shipped as gift from a relative?

  20. My friend was planning to leave Germany before the Kindle could have been shipped to that place, so I didn’t take the risk. No idea about the latter.

  21. Gaurav,
    Could I please have the email address for Amazon customer support? I tried searching their website but seems I didn’t try hard enough as I couldn’t find it.
    BTW, any idea if getting a 3G enabled device would be an advantage now that the service has been introduced here?

  22. There’s no direct email address. Instead, just fill up the form when you click on the “Contact Us” yellow button on http://www.amazon.com/kindleinternationalsupport . I wouldn’t prefer the 3G version since Internet connectivity on the move will be rarely required. You can download all the books you need using WiFi at home and then read it wherever you are. I don’t think it’s worth spending the extra $$ on the 3G edition.

  23. Hi Bro….

    Very awesome post…

    Even I am a fan of ebook readers..I own a SONY PRS 505 … It is a pleasure reading in ebook reader …

  24. hey dude
    do i need any sim card or something in the 3g version of kinde for accessing the internet.
    and one more can i download things from internet using kindle.

  25. Great post Gaurav. I am planning to buy this and your post clarified a lot of things for me.

  26. Thank you for the well informed review. I have one doubt though.

    Is the free 3g facility offered by Kindle available in India? I was wondering whether it is useful to buy Kindle with 3g.

  27. Hi Vidya. Well, I have no idea about the 3G version of the Kindle, but I can tell you that it’s definitely NOT worth paying the extra money for it. You would generally not need always-on Internet connectivity on the Kindle since once the books are downloaded (over Wifi), an Internet connection is not required to read the books. There are some features like syncing the page number of the page you’re on incase you are reading books on multiple devices, but I don’t think the additional cost justifies the tiny amount of extra features you are getting.

  28. Thanks a lot Gaurav for the quick reply. I too think the Wifi version will satisfy my reading needs wonderfully. There is a difference of more than 2000 Rs for the 3g facility alone.

  29. hai gaurav,ur post is so informative and clear,good work.
    i am planning to buy kindle 3g,how about listening songs,i heard tat its a bit painful on kindle.
    and wat about gaming on kindle.

  30. ya and more doubt gaurav,how about memory details,how many books we can carry at max on kindle with songs also

  31. Thanks Mounica! Loading songs on a Kindle is not painful at all. Just connect it to your computer over USB and copy-paste songs to it. However, I don’t think there is any option to skip tracks, fast forward or rewind songs. As far as I know, you can only start and stop playback. Gaming on Kindle? I can’t even imagine doing that! The screen refresh rate is so slow that even normal web browsing is difficult, forget games! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. have tried 1 e reader …..B&N nook..but still nothing beats the excitement of visitng a book store , pickin a book and then living with it…gazing at the cover page and then feeling the pages go by …

    The book reading experience as described in many poetries and stories is etched in my mind far too pleasingly …to be done away with a reading gadget.

    and what is the actual purpose of an ebook reader……carry multiple books at once????really? thats the big idea……Plus I feel reading is not utility task so its not fair to compare digitizing of other activities to book reading.

    I speak myself of course though…

  33. Yes, agreed. Over time I have realized that “carrying multiple books at once” is not such a big deal. You’ll read only one book at a time, after all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Your statement that Amazon ebooks are cheaper than printed ones is definitely not true. All kindle ebooks are more expensive than their paper counterparts in India. That statement only holds good if you are talking about buying printed books in the US or some other country. This is of course ridiculous IMO because it costs Amazon nothing to sell ebooks.. I mean there is nothing to print so it should be cheaper. Duh!
    In spite of this I bought one anyway because I was running out of space in my house with all the books I had to store.

  35. Hi Bobby! Yes, I definitely meant buying those books from Amazon. Comparing apples to apples ๐Ÿ™‚

    And interestingly, even I have totally run out of shelf space. I’m planning to sell a few old ones and buy the Kindle version instead.

  36. Just a small doubt(It may sound cheep…forgive me) Can I copy pirated ebooks e-book into Kindle??? Or I have to buy all e-books from Online store? Because I have a huge collection of e-books. I want to buy a e-book reader to help read it. Also, does Kindle support LIT format? Please help me…

  37. Hi Siva. The Kindle does support pirated ebooks but they have to be in .mobi format. I don’t think LIT is supported. Moreover, there is a huge torrent available on torrent networks containing some of the most popular books in a Kindle compatible format. The most common problem in anything that’s non-genuine is that the formatting is not great, so you’ll often need to scroll here and there to read your books, which can get quite annoying. And hey, it’s a genuine query and there is nothing to feel cheap about ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. I am planning to shop Kindle 3 sponsored version from shopyourworld.com (as amazon is not shipping to India). Do anybody have experience of kindle purchase through shopyourworld.com. Will Kindle 3 sponsored version get registered in India?

  39. Even i was struggling between an iPad and Kindle…..Was searching for a perfect review for Kindle and finally found it….. on reading the initial part had almost made up my mind to buy it…. now i just have one small query left, i know you’ve answered it before, sorry for the pains(:P)…. the e-books downloaded from torrent which you say some are supported by kindle, : are they exactly similar to the ones we buy online from amazon? i mean if i purchase a kindle,ย  can i go on reading books without spending a single rupee?… cuz if i spend more on the books after purchasing kindle, my parents would be really furious!!! :P…in that case i would prefer buying physical books!!

  40. Hi Ravina. The ebooks available on the torrent network are made for the Kindle. They are almost identical to the ones obtained from Amazon.com. If you are interested in reading those titles (a lot of them are bestselling ones), you can practically eliminate spending anything more on books, except for buying the Kindle itself ! ๐Ÿ™‚ However, in general Kindle books are more expensive than the books available off the bookshelf in India. So if you’re looking for specific titles (which are not included in the torrent), you’ll end up spending almost 10-50% more compared to what a paperback will cost.

  41. Hello Gaurav,
    Although very late into the discussion, i must say ur review on kindle is honest, informative and clear. Very helpful and detailed too. I am planning to buy one (6″ wifi) shortly. Now its been months u r using kindle… do u like it the way u did when it was new? and as i have tons of ebooks from torrents, is there any software available which can convert those e-books into kindle version? …and how is the cover? is it LED lit?

  42. Hi Suman. Thank you for the appreciation. It’s feedback like this what keeps me motivated ๐Ÿ™‚ The Kindle is the perfect device if you are looking for a pure e-book reader. If you are looking for a multimedia device which ALSO works as an e-book reader, you can consider the iPad or some Android tablet. I have the simple cover without an LED light. That itself cost around Rs. 1500. The LED cover was quite expensive, so I decided against it. If you have e-books in PDF format, you can straight away copy them to your Kindle, but the reading experience will be painful, since the Kindle dimensions will be different from the PDF dimension. As a result, you’ll be continuously scrolling up and down to get the complete view of your document. However, I have no idea whether there is a software tool to convert those PDF’s to Kindle format.

  43. Hello Gaurav. I must admit you are a lucid writer and I expect that your explanation to following questions will reflect the same.

    1. I am preparing for a competitive exam which demands exhaustive reading and my sole purpose to buy the device is to integrate all PDFs and word(as well as .txt) into a single device.

    2. In the process, I might also need to read web versions of some magazines.

    3. Though a voracious reader,ย right nowย I have nothing to do with popular titles. Indian publications whether it be books, newspapers, periodicals etc. would be the only priority.

    4. Currently doing a job at a software company. So need such a device that accompanies me anywhere and proves instantly helpful whenever i get the time to read because I am not having the luxury of dedicated time for preparation.

    Is Kindle 3 WIFI for me? A honest reply will be appreciated. Thank you.

  44. Hello Mike!

    1. Kindle is a poor choice for reading PDF’s. Since the PDF ratio will hardly ever match the screen ratio of the Kindle, you’ll end up constantly scrolling up and down to get a good view of your document. It’s quite painful.

    2. Web browsing on the Kindle is practically impossible. The refresh rates on the screen are extremely poor.

    3. Not all Indian publications are available on the Kindle book store. Most of them are books from american authors.

    4. A tablet computer may be more suitable inย  this case, especially because it can do a lot more than just display books.

    You should definitely NOT invest in a Kindle ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Hi,
    Thanks 4 ur reply….actually i got an application which converts pdf’s into epub….plz send me ur email address at sumankd07@gmail:disqusย .com, ย and i’ll mail u a coverted epub…u try it in kindle and let me know…if it works then ….u know….. ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

  46. Gaurav,

    A fabulous review. Was in two minds for quite sometime, until i read your review. Great show! Am buying!

  47. Very information.

    With the PDF, other than the page scrolls are the images rendered well ? Is it worth compromising on the read quality (as compared to Tablets) for the convenience of fitting on the page (which I doubt is good on the tablets either, know what I mean?)

  48. The images are rendered but not as good as compared to PC’s or tablets. The quality of the image is quite low and they are rendered in black and white. Sometimes it gets really difficult to identify the details in an image, but it’s definitely not a deal-breaker.

  49. Can we use proxy settings for web browser on kindle ?
    Cause i stay at university, so here we use proxy settings.

  50. Gaurav, good review. I have ordered with the help of a relative in US, the latest e-ink Kindle- Kindle Touch Wifi and US Adapter $109 in total. I will have to wait some time before it reaches here as it is a pre-order. I was tempted to order Kindle Fire, But preferred e-ink based reader. I have prior to order checked available reviews and video reviews of Kindle Touch Wifi . The Black Screen or delay in Kindle 3 and previous oneย  when You move to next page is considerably reduced as per the video reviews. I am excited too m/

    I am curious if things like Kindle Leather Cover,LCD Screen protector etc are available in India..Banglore to be particular ๐Ÿ˜€

    I wanted to ask:ย  I have read somewhere that AMAZON is launching in India on Q1 2012( http://is.gd/8wvTUw )? if So, Then, Kindle will be available here even if costs slightly more? considering India is one of the biggest marketย  for English books.ย  the site amazon.co.in is registered already with Amazon USA giving enough Clue.

    Also, There are 2 e-book readers e-ink based in India. one from ecmedia,Bangalore called ‘Wink XPS’ costs Rs6000(2-3 versions available) and another one is Infibeam Pi eReader. No Independent Reviews I can find in the net. although Infibeam Pi is declared Crap maal in some tech forumsย  ๐Ÿ˜›

    Regards,
    Prakash

  51. Hi Prakash. I think you will be able to find a sleeve/cover for the Kindle in a good stationary/electronics shop in Bangalore. Even the iPad sleeves work fine, I’ve heard. There are reports of Amazon.com setting up a base in India since quite a while, but I wouldn’t really wait for them to launch if the product I’m interested in is being shipped to India. Cannot comment on the Kindle pricing yet, but ideally it should turn out to be cheaper, since 30-40% of the cost incurred in ordering the Kindle from USA is on shipping and custom duty! No idea about the rest of the e-book readers though. This month’s T3 magazine has a comparison study but Kindle is still the leader by far.

  52. Hi Gaurav

    Pertaining to Pdf thing, you can send your docs. to kindle id via your registered email Id. And the same will automatically be converted into MOBI & get downloaded on your device wirelessly, one of the best features of kindle.

    Happy reading..!

    Regards
    Sachin

  53. Hi

    Ads are country specific. At the moment, amazon has no ads for India (didn’t have any for over an year). So, indirectly, you are buying a un-sponsored version at the price of a sponsored one.

    Regards
    Sachin

  54. Hey Gaurav, I found your review pretty helpful. I know you have mentioned that the browser isnt good enough but I primarily want to read web sites like wikipedia, the economist etc which have very little other than text matter. Would you recommend that I go for either the wifi or 3g version?

  55. Even if you’re looking mostly at text-heavy sites, still the Kindle is not upto the mark. If web-browsing is high on your priority, go for a tablet computer instead. In any case, I would recommend only the WiFi version. There is no need for 3G unless you intend to surf on the go.

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