For all the benefits that come with living in Europe — sharing a unified currency, easy access to medical care — getting timely access to Amazon’s popular line of Kindle e-readers isn’t one of them.
Amazon begun rolling out their WiFi-only Kindles in a few new markets this past December and followed up by shipping their Kindle Touch to new markets as well. At long last though, digital bibliophiles in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy will soon get their chance to curl up with the online retailer’s touch-friendly e-reader — starting on April 27, the Kindle Touch will officially launch in each of the countries’ respective Amazon stores.
If you were perhaps hoping for an explanation for the delay, I’d advise you not to hold your breath. The BBC posed that same question to Amazon European Vice President of Kindle Jorrit Van der Meulen, who offered no insight into what caused the five month delay between the Kindle Touch’s U.S. release and its debut in Europe. Devin laid out a few credible possibilities when the news first broke, but the official rationale is still under wraps for now.
Whether or not the Kindle Touch will actually sell is another question — the WiFi-only Kindle Touch will cost users £109/€129, while the tricked-out 3G model will retail for £169/€189. Meanwhile the bog-standard non-touch Kindle has been readily available in all those markets since December, and its €99 price tag has endeared it to many a thoughtful shopper over the holidays. Amazon also faces competition from players like Sony and Kobo, whose own touchscreen e-readers have been on the market for quite some time.
While a total of two modern Kindles (three if you count the 3G model) are definitely better than none, there’s still no word on whether or not Amazon’s wallet-friendly Kindle Fire tablet is slated to take a similar trip across the pond. Here’s hoping it makes the transition soon, though considering Amazon’s track record, European Fire fans should probably settle in for a long wait.