Kindle App and Amazon’s Stupid Location Discrimination

Kindle App

“Get Kindle app! Get Kindle app!!”, my friend kept hounding me. Eventually, I succumbed and downloaded the damn thing to my phone. However, for a little over four weeks, I didn’t even open the new downloaded app to see what it was all about. During a training class at work, a few books were mentioned as required reading. I had gone to Debonair bookstore to order some of the books already, then I thought of my Kindle book app. Quickly, I launched the app and searched on how to buy a book on it.

On the Amazon website (Amazon are the guys behind Kindle), navigated to the Kindle store, where I found the book, happily clicked on it, at which point a little green icon flashed to the right hand side. I totally ignored it, went ahead to add to my cart and went on to look for other books. at this point I observed that I didn’t see any Add To Cart icons again! Haa! I search again and again, yet nothing changed. I thought to myself, What’s going on? So, I started the process of ordering all over again, and presto! The little green thing came up again. This time, I checked it out, and what I saw made my blood boil. Here it is:

Kindle green error

I was irritated and visibly angry. I picked up the phone and called my friend who said, “That’s the annoying thing that these folks and Apple do”. Did I mention that he is a hater of Apple’s “regimented life style”? He couldn’t help but mention my Apple inside this Kindle matter. Anyway, he went on to tell me that I have to use a UK or a US address/location to be able to buy some books on Kindle, otherwise those items would remain unavailable to me.

So my questions:

  1. What does Amazon mean by this?
  2. Are there books that our Internet bundles can’t download?
  3. Are there books we can’t afford to read and understand?
  4. Are there things we from this clime aren’t suppose to know or learn from their books?
  5. Are there books that we can’t pay for?
  6. Or are there books that the payment with African Cards can’t afford to be debited for?

I am just as irritated as confused right now!!!! Why would a book app have locations you can’t buy from? What’s the essence of books by the way? They would prefer that I lie about my location so I can buy a book? A friggin’ book? Issokay!

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21 comments

  1. While reviewing this article for publishing, I was very tempted to let my contempt for Amazon reflect, but I held back. Which is why I hope that mine is the first comment here.

    If I had written this article, it would have been titled, “Go to hell, Amazon” or “Fxck you, Amazon”. That is how much I detest this nonsense.

    Pardon me, but are there nuclear launch codes in the books or something, that this silly embargo exists? It has to take extremely stupid people to keep this sort of policy going for so long. I tried the app once, ran into this issue and promptly made a mental note not to touch any Amazon product till they sort out who screwed with their heads. It is why I won’t spend my money on a Kindle, be it app or hardware.

    For some reason, I forgot to write an article on the subject. I do think that it is about time that a proper outcry is raised over this. Amazon need their heads examined. Thoroughly.

  2. The reason is a simple one: international copyright issues. Even on physical books, sometimes things like ‘this book is not to be sold outside US and Canada’ or ‘International Edition, not to be sold in North America, Europe, Japan and China’ are written on the front cover. As far as I can tell, Amazon sells and ships a lot of physical books to Africa. Even on Google Play, you can only buy apps from Nigeria, you can’t buy books, songs or movies. They are not allowed to sell those outside certain countries because of international copyright laws.
    I think what should actually annoy us is the fact that the Kindle store for ebooks is now open to several African countries including Ghana (as in they can buy and download ebooks from Kindle store) but Nigeria is still conspicuously been left out.
    I have told Farafina to start their own eBook store so that at least we will enjoy our local literature, including the classics, digitally.

  3. As a Christian Leader and a techie, Here is my answer , you might not believe the answer but here it is.

    LIE!!!!

    I buy books regularly. Just put in a false address, (like Amazon HQ)

    Use a Zenith bank Master card and read.

  4. I have suffered amazon discrimination in the past. I don’t know why in this age and time some people will still be racist in their head, or rather be thinking all Nigeria are criminal. In an age when American president has an African blood flowing in his vein.
    As for the use of a wrong address, that is not too good for a gentle man, especially a minister. I think we should take this up with amazon, demanding the reason why they will exclude African biggest market and loosing so much revenue.

  5. Obviously, the problem is the international copyright law. I think Amazon, as a private company, is more than willing to sell more books and to get extra $ but just cannot do it because the publisher is not giving them the right to sell their books to Nigeria. So if you want to set up a petition, it’s more against the books publishers than Amazon that you should do it.

  6. I made the mistake of installing the application once. I promptly uninstalled it when I saw the restriction. Pooh!!!

  7. It is not only Amazon that is guilty. Google too is culpable in blacklisting Nigeria. We can’t buy anything from Google Play Movies, Music, Books. It’s only Play Store Apps we can download in Nigeria. Until our Yahoo-Yahoo image crisis is resolved and cleaned up,the discrimination will continue. Meanwhile, as the ‘Oyibos’ have learnt to fly in the global sky without perching on a Nigerian tree branch, Nigerians too have learnt to shoot at what we want from them without missing target!

  8. Aah Minister Gbenro….That’s quite funny. How were you able to keep the charade without them yanking you off because my friend who tried that said he was dis-enabled after some time owing to the fact that it wasn’t his region. It is just pathetic what these people think of us collectively.

  9. Kojito,

    Thanks for more enlightenment. I have wondered many times too. It is really the owners of the piece/work that limits Amazon. It makes a whole lot of sense now.

    In my own case, I just used a school address in the US and paid with my GTBank Naira Mastercard/ATM.

  10. International limitations and yahoo boys are to blame.

    Each time I see a person using Nigeria iTunes, I just pity them, because they are missing sooooo much.

    Amazon is not the only one to blame though, on google/nexus, they dont even allow me to see the price.

    Paypal is another story

  11. This isn’t unique to Nigeria or Nigerians. Copyright issues also affect the same region and other countries who can get the app, but can’t buy the books.

    Maybe the onus should be on Amazon to show only books available for that region/country, rather than the trial and error methods we have to go through to find out.

  12. once our financial security ratings gets better and acceptable as best practices around the world, we will be allowed.

    You can try kobo for now. i downloaded the app for android and i think it will allow payments with our debit cards. My dorm account is presently dry, would have tried buying a book from there.

  13. thanks for your write up but you should have done more than this.your research should have also included suggesting an alternative for publishers like Clickbank. waiting for an update on this.

  14. Although the international copyright laws may be a factor it is highly unlikely that Amazon would refuse business. It is far more likely that governments in Africa are to blame for creating restrictions. I work with ministries in Uganda and have even collected funds for them in the USA. It was becoming more and more apparent that if they had their own PayPal business accounts they could raise funds to them directly. They can’t. I figured it was the banks in Uganda choking the internet income tunnel. Nope!

    For years I was all mad at PayPal for the seeming prejudice at work but only recently I found out that the Govt. of Uganda has placed restrictions on incoming money online. That is fully confirmed. I have talked to PayPal employees and the company is more than willing to work with African countries but governments in Africa are unwilling to modify their banking regulations to allow that.

    They made a compromise in Uganda. People can get a PayPal account and fill it from their banks but they cannot receive money and download it back to their bank accounts to be able to use it. The situation with buying Amazon Kindle books is likely no different. Nothing in many governments in Africa needs to make sense as long as they “say it should be so.”

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