How to buy Kindle books for the iPhone if you are outside the US

One of the main advantages of the Kindle (and the Kindle store) is the lower price of books. Let’s compare one book : Halting State by Charles Stross.

Fictionwise : $6.45 to $7.99 (depending on rebates and membership)
Mobipocket : $7.99
Amazon Kindle store : $6.39

If you read a lot of ebooks like I do, then the savings are obvious. Right now, the Kindle 2 ebook reader is only available in the US. One of the reasons is that it uses the EVDO system on Sprint to deliver books to the device. Another, bigger reason is that book publishing rights get very complicated once you cross national barriers.

With the Kindle on the iPhone, Amazon has access to more than 10 million readers, who are largely out of the US. Are you out of luck if you’re not in the US? Well, there is a workaround.

Here’s what you need to do :

1. Download the Kindle iPhone app from the Apple App Store. It’s free.
2. Create a new account with Amazon.com. Use a US address as your delivery address.
3. Sign in to the Kindle iPhone app with your new account. Your iPhone should appear in the “Manage Your Kindle” app.
4. Unless you have a US credit card, you need to pay for your Kindle books from a Gift Certificate balance. You can either send Gift Certificates to yourself (from your original, non-US Amazon account), ask a friend to send you one, or purchase one from eBay (buyer beware).
5. Pick a Kindle book. In the payment page, enter your Gift Certificate code. Your payment will be processed and your ebook will be downloaded the next time you sync the Kindle for iPhone app. Your purchased book will appear in the “Archive” section on the Kindle for iPhone app.

This method works, I just bought and successfully downloaded a Kindle book. The book? Halting State by Charles Stross :-)

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