I’ve finally figured out how to purchase and download Kindle editions of books onto my Kindle.  It’s not straight forward because I don’t have an Amazon.com account and I live in Japan. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create an Amazon.com account (I have an Amazon UK account and was able to register with that; Amazon Japan accounts are not recognized by Kindle/Amazon.com)
  2. On your PC, go to Amazon.com and log in.
  3. Find the book you want (tip: add the word “kindle” to the book title in the search box; or select “Kindle Store” from the search-box drop-down menu).
  4. (Doing the above “kindle” search – step 3 – on Amazon UK brought up the following message: “Kindle titles for your country are not available at Amazon.co.uk.
    Please shop for Kindle titles at Amazon.com. “)
  5. Select “alternative formats” if it doesnt automatically appear (it should be in the next section down, below the photo of the book cover)
  6. If there is a Kindle version, it will be listed.
  7. If you’re logged in, on the right-hand side of the Amazon window, where the “Add to Cart” button is, you should see the following:
    Add to Cart (or Buy now with 1-click)
    Deliver to:
    (followed by the name of your Kindle gadget. This is listed in the Settings of your Kindle and is created automatically when you register your Kindle)

  8. Click “Add to Cart” or “Buy now with 1-click” if you’ve got 1-click switched on, and the book you’ve selected will be downloaded to your Kindle. I have a Wifi-only Kindle, so the book was automatically downloaded the next time I moved my Kindle within the range of my Wifi network.
  9. You can also download the book to your PC and transfer it to your Kindle later. Here’s the help message from Amazon: “If you are outside a 3G wireless coverage area and cannot connect to Wi-Fi, select Transfer via Computer from the Deliver to menu when buying. You can then download the Kindle Edition to your computer and transfer to your USB connected Kindle. “
  10. Voila!
  11. Is Kindle cheaper than buying a physical book? I just checked with 2 books and found that the Kindle version is 72% of the hardback price, but (in 1 case) double the paperback price. In another case, the Kindle version was just 20 cents cheaper than the mass paperback version.