Monday, September 16, 2013

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite in Singapore (Late 2013)

If you want to read more last year's Kindle Paperwhite (with 300 comments!), click here
1) Updates:
  • 5 August 2013: I just opened a new online shop Singapore Kindle Shop. Get the Kindle Paperwhite (no ads version) at S$250 with free 2-day delivery
  • 7 October: I've received my new Paperwhite. Highly recommended with a fantastic screen!
  • 26 Oct 2014: This blog entry will no longer be updated. Click here for the new Kindle Voyage entry!
  • 1 July 2015: The new Paperwhite has been upgraded to 300PPI! 
2) New 2013 features
3) How to buy a Kindle in Singapore
4) How to buy Kindle ebooks in Singapore
5) Some Kindle ebooks I've bought

As I said in last year's entry, I always worry when this time of the year arrives. Would Amazon discontinue the Kindle? Would they be lured by the Dark Side and embrace tablets at the cost of E Ink devices? Would Amazon continue to take reading (and not reading+music+internet+Angry Birds!) seriously? Fortunately, the answer is yes, and in late October 2013 they announced the 2nd version of the Kindle Paperwhite. Here's what's new.

As we can see from the table, last year's Pearl and this year's Carta E Ink screens are mostly similar. The big difference is the 3rd and 4th lines of the table. Contrast ratio, the thing that makes print pages look really good, has been improved yet again!  

New 2013 features Apart from the hardware, the software has been evolving continuously. The first two features below are VERY exciting! (For owners of Paperwhite version 1, these features will most definitely be available in a future software update.)  

New Kindle FreeTime—Built-in parental controls have been extended to give parents a simple, engaging way to encourage kids to spend more time reading. Hand-select books for your kids to read, and hand out achievement badges when they hit reading milestones. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books finished. 
New Vocabulary Builder—Compiles words you look up in the dictionary into an easy-to-access list. Use these lists to quiz yourself with flashcards and instantly see words in context. See screenshots:
New Smart Lookup—Integrates a full dictionary definition with other reference information about a word, character, topic or book via X-Ray and Wikipedia. For example, using an ordinary dictionary to look up “credit default swaps” in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short would give the individual definitions of “credit,” “default” and “swaps.” Smart Lookup recognizes this is an important topic and phrase in the book, and gives you the correct definition of “credit default swaps” via X-Ray. See a screenshot:
 New In-line Footnotes—With a single tap, read the complete text of each footnote in-line without changing the page or losing your place in the book. See a screenshot:


How to buy a Kindle in Singapore
  • Summary: Buy from Amazon, who will ship to your forwarder, who will ship to you. Turnaround: around 14 days.
  • Go to the Kindle page buy yourself a Kindle. (You can use your local credit card with correct local billing address to do this. You don't need a VPN and don't need to use gift cards.) 
  • The new Kindle will be automatically linked to your Amazon account.
  • Ship it to a third party mail forwarder. Borderlinx (Citibank credit card required, go to 'get a virtual address') and Comgateway (go to 'get my US address') are both excellent. They both use DHL to ship packages to Singapore. DHL is extremely reliable and fast; they even deliver on Sundays!
  • When you get your Kindle, you need to register it if it hasn't already been registered. After connecting to wifi at "home>settings", register it by filling in your Amazon username and password at "home>settings>register".
Some preparatory steps to take before buying eBooks from the Amazon US store
  • Summary: Use a VPN and prepare your Amazon account. Buy gift card and send to yourself.
  • Because Amazon doesn't officially support Kindles in Singapore, there were instances where buyers were found to be not from 'authorised countries' and were asked to provide proof of US residency before they could buy books again. The probability of this happening is very low. To be totally safe, use a vpn described below.
  • Firstly, do not buy Amazon ebooks directly from your Kindle device or Kindle apps, not even free books.
  • Buy a gift card with your local credit card, say USD50. Use the correct, local billing address for this purchase. Email the gift card to your email address. When you receive it in the mail, apply the gift amount to your Amazon account.
  • Go to your account, 'manage payment options', and erase your credit card info if you have any credit cards associated with . (Do this also whenever you buy something at Amazon using your local credit card.)
  • You need to buy books using your Internet browser on your computer with a VPN installed. Functionally, using a VPN is the equivalent of me giving you an airplane ticket to travel with your Kindle to the US. Use a VPN such as Private Tunnel to make yourself situated in the US, in spirit. You may turn it off later when you're done purchasing. Click here to download some instructions. The cheapest VPN package can last you for years. Do not use Hotspot Shield; it's known not to work sometimes.
  • Exit your Internet browser.
  • Switch on your VPN. Open your browser.
  • Go to Manage your Kindle at the Kindle product page.
  • Go to 'settings>country settings'. Change your country to US if it's showing another country. Use any US address. Take a screenshot of it in case Amazon asks in future.
  • Switch off the VPN.
How to buy eBooks from the Amazon US store
  • Summary: Don't buy books from Kindle itself, buy gift cards, send to yourself, use a VPN on your computer to buy books
  • Do not buy eBooks (even if the books are free) with the Kindle device.
  • Ensure that you have sufficient funds in your account. If not, buy more gift cards and apply them to your account.
  • Exit your Internet browser.
  • Switch on your VPN, and check that it's working by going to . It needs to show a US IP address.
  • Go to Amazon. Find your book and click 'buy now with 1-click', 'deliver to your Kindle'. If you choose to wirelessly send it to your Kindle, you should receive the book in a few seconds. You can also choose to download the file and transfer it to your Kindle using USB. If asked for the billing address, use any US address. Note that this address will not be used because funds will originate from your gift card balance. New: Copy or do a screenshot of this information (the US billing address and telephone number that you used.) You may be asked for it in the future.
  • Switch off the VPN.
Some Kindle books I've bought to be read on the E Ink Kindle and Kindle for iPad.