By Stephen Windwalker
Originally posted April 21, 2010 – © Kindle Nation Daily 2010
With so much going on in the Kindlesphere lately, I apologize for the fact that it’s been a while since I caught up with news, trends, and rumours that may be of interest to Kindle content customers across the pond and around the world as well as stateside. So, let me try to summarize several recent matters of interest:
- On Monday, April 19, Amazon announced that a new deal with bestselling author Paulo Coelho to make several of his books, available in both Spanish and French for worldwide distribution in the Kindle Store. “There will be 13 books in Spanish and nine in French, including The Alchemist,” Amazon said in its release (scroll down to read it), noting that “all of these books are also available in the author’s native Portuguese in the Kindle Store.”
- While the news on Coelho’s titles is great, a quick look at some Kindle Store title counts suggests that Amazon has yet to operationalize a priority on the international and foreign-language side of its commitment to make every book every published available for immediate download in the Kindle Store. Since the last time we checked a little over two months ago, the number of U.S. Kindle Store titles in French has actually decreased from 1,495 to 1,475, while the count of German titles has increased ever so slightly from 1,074 to 1,127. There’s been a healthier boost of 59% in the umber of Spanish-language titles, but even there a jump from 2,320 titles to 3,390 since February 19 hardly suggests that there’s a working group addressing this.
- One piece of good news for U.S. Kindle customers traveling internationally came in a post by the I Love My Kindle blog’s Bufo Calvin: Apparently, Amazon is no longer charging such travelers fees for sending them the Kindle Store books they purchase (or recover from archiving) wirelessly via the Whispernet. Fees still apply to international Whispernet transmission of Kindle blogs, periodicals, and personal documents; Amazon explains those here. (Also, Amazon recently added a feature that should make it easier for international travelers to guard against unexpectedly high file transfer charges for sending personal documents wirelessly to their Kindle; click here for a post on this subject).
- Meanwhile, still no word from Amazon about when Kindle blogs will be available either to Kindle owners beyond US borders or as content that can be read with Kindle apps on other devices.
Here’s the guts of Amazon’s news release concerning the Coelho translations:
SEATTLE, Apr 19, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that international bestselling author Paulo Coelho has decided to make select books, including “The Alchemist,” available in both Spanish and French for worldwide distribution in Amazon’s Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore). This is the first time any of these editions have been available as electronic books. There will be 13 books in Spanish and nine in French, including “The Alchemist,” “The Pilgrimage,” “Veronika Decides to Die,” “The Witch of Portobello,” “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept,” “The Zahir” and “The Devil and Miss Prym.” All of these books are also available in the author’s native Portuguese in the Kindle Store. The Kindle Store now includes over 480,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York TimesBestsellersand New Releases. Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available to read on Kindle, including titles such as “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Treasure Island.”
“Our global customers were thrilled when Mr. Coelho made electronic copies of his book available in Portuguese in the Kindle Store,” said Melissa Kirmayer, Director, Kindle Content. “We’re excited to work with Mr. Coelho again to offer these titles in Spanish and French in the Kindle Store for download in less than 60 seconds in more than 100 countries around the world.”
Paulo Coelho is the all-time bestselling Portuguese-language author. One of his best-known books, “The Alchemist,” was a No. 1 bestselling title in 74 countries. “The Alchemist” also holds the 2008 Guinness World Record for the most translated book in the world (67 languages in more than 150 countries).
“It was with great joy that I was able to make 17 of my books available in my native Portuguese for Kindle,” said Coelho. “I am proud to now offer more readers around the world access to my work by publishing my books in both Spanish and French, regardless of the country they live in and their ability to get to a bookstore that carries my books in their mother tongue.”