Amazon may be blocking non-US customers from buying Kindle books

The method to trick Amazon into selling you a Kindle if you live outside of US was long known. There hundreds if not thousands non-US people using Amazon Kindle nowdays. However, recently, according to this thread on forums, please using this method started getting the following message when trying to buy a Kindle book:
We are sorry…
We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

We are sorry…

We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

There could be several things that are going on:

  • Software bug. Several users have reported website having some glitches recently.
  • Amazon did this unintentionally. It could be that they’ve rolled out a general system for geographically targeting or restricting certain products (not just Kindle books) and this message is one of the effects of this system. Perhaps it’s related to upcoming Kindle UK release… If that were the case, based on my own experience with software industry I would estimate that UK launch to be within weeks from now since it doesn’t make sense to make changes to production website that makes millions of dollars worth of sales per day long before you plan to release something. It can be Amazons major move for this holiday season and it would totally make sense. Though this is 100% my speculation.
  • Amazon specifically targeted Kindle books. Most likely this is because one of the non-US copyright holders found out that their intellectual property is sold in their country (ex: France) and they are not getting their rightful share of profits. Then they demanded action from Amazon and Amazon blocked Kindle books for non-US IP addresses. Let’s explore this possibility in detail…

The last scenario is yet another manifestation of how complex international copyright system is. Usually different publishers have rights to the same book in different countries. This worked well for paper book publishing since few people would like to purchase foreign edition of the book due because they would rather read it in their native language. It didn’t make sense to transport books internationally since they are heavy and it’s cheaper to print them close to where they will be sold. However when books went digital this legacy system started causing a lot of grief to publishers, book sellers and most of all to the customers. This was recently demonstrated by events surrounding Orwell’s 1984. Perhaps in the future publishing industry will adapt and embrace the global economy…

In this particular matter I doubt that Amazon would go do great pains to strictly enforce geographical restrictions on Kindle books. Mostly it’s because relatively few people used this loophole and amount of money involved is not significant. If Amazon were to press the issue, it would generate bad publicity just as Orwellioan deletion did. So they’ll only do what is needed to get the particular publisher happy. So I’m sure in time people will find a workaround for this problem.

One good way to try would be to have a separate browser that uses US pusroxy for all interactions with website from the day you create your new account. I’d recommend using real HTTP proxy that you configure in your browser rather than anonymizer websites that load destination websites in a frame as these are prone to bugs. The following proxy list would be a good place to start.

If you are affected by this issue or can add valuable information about the topic – please post a comment.


“Many thanks to Caroline Wong from the amazon forums for giving a hint to the solution. Amazon is now checking the IP address for those without a valid one-click payment option – generally those purchasing with gift certificates. You need to do a VPN to a US ip address – just do a google on “VPN to US” and download the software. Just run the software before any amazon session. Just bought 3 kindle books of amazon using gift certificates.”

So it looks like it is IP-related. Using public US proxy or VPN should solve the problem. I’ll look into the UltraSurf software and will post a review once I’ve tested it myself.

Amazon specifically doing the check for people without one click buying option would explain why most US residents travelling abroad like me will not be affected by this change.

Update 2:

I’ve just received the following email:


I’m the guy who started the “Am I Screwed?” post on

I update the thread. The problem is now over. People can buy books normally again, without needing to use a US IP. Amazon says it was a temporary glitch.

I myself (in Canada) just bought a book normally and successfully.

So it looks like this might be a side effect of upcoming international release or a simple bug.

Thanks to everyone who helped contribute information on the issue.

The Kindle’s UK Launch Date Will be Finalized Soon

UK Kindle

UK Kindle

Amazon will soon have a UK launch date finalized for the Kindle, according to British mobile phone trade publication, Mobile Today.  Although its not currently clear when this date will be, the launch should occur in time for the holiday season.

Of course, just because Kindle has been slow to leave the US doesn’t mean that Amazon’s competitors haven’t already cracked the European market.  Part of Amazon’s strategy will now have to be winning away users who already have experience with other eReaders.

What may be the Kindle’s largest selling point is also the reason for the delay: Whispernet.  The reason Kindle isn’t yet sold in the UK is because problems arose in finding a wireless carrier (Orange and Vodafone, 2 major cellular companies in Great Britain,  are working on their own wireless-enabled eReaders with Vodaphone planning to release as soon as this fall).  Qualcomm has taken over negotiations for Amazon, and has apparently found a solution to the wireless problem.

One question on my mind is how the UK Kindle’s will work in the US and vice versa.  Most likely it will not be possible to use wireless connectivity outside your own country. In order to make this a reality Amazon will need ot install universal wireless chipset that would support both CDMA (Sprint) and GSM (european operators). This will incurr extra cost while not making a great difference for 99% of the users. I may be wrong though. We’ll see…

Amazon Kindle UK edition perhaps in the autumn?

Wireless Access with WhispernetThere has been an interesting development for UK Kindle fans, user TadW on MobileRead forums stumbled upon an article in the London Evening Standard which reviewed the Kindle, whilst the review offers nothing new in terms of information, there was a glimmer of hope for a UK autumn release date.

For now, in any case, at the moment, the Kindle is only available in America. There have been reports that Amazon. plans to launch a version of it here in the autumn (perhaps using wi-fi, rather than a phone system?) but when I asked a spokesman for the company about this, he refused to comment, monotonously repeating we dont talk about future plans.

But it seems the Kindle has now begun to acquire some of the momentum that iPods picked up over other MP3 players; just as iPods changed the way we listen, so the Kindle may, by next summer, say, be impacting on the way many of us read.

I say glimmer because that’s all it was, a tiny glimmer. A UK release would present some challenges for Amazon, the dominant standard for cellular communication in the UK is Global System for Mobile (GSM) whereas in the US it is Evolution Data Optimized (EVDO), Amazon would also have to negotiate a contract with a UK carrier. Amazon recently revealed that it had optimised its supply chain which was one of the reasons for the $40 price drop, with the supply problems behind them Amazon could now concentrate on developing the Kindle for new markets, and the UK & Europe would be a huge market for Amazon.

Amazon will most likely offer different versions of the Kindle in different countries, but for now I think Amazon will see how the Kindle performs in the US before they think about releasing it in the UK or anywhere else, which makes the autumn release seem a bit premature.

Source: MobileRead Forums