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It’s taken a few years, but Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has really ramped up the number of countries where it is selling its Kindle products. Today it’s announcing two more countries to the list where it sells its keyboard-free Kindle e-reader, Spain and Italy, where it will sell for €99 ($133), along with a catalog of titles in Spanish and Italian Kindle stores. The new Kindle Fire tablet, however, is not yet part of the deal.
Amazon says the Spanish Kindle store will feature some 22,000 books in Spanish, as well as what it claims will be the largest selection of e-books available in Catalan, Basque and Galician, regional languages spoken in the country.
The Italian Kindle store will have less local-language books to begin with at only 16,000 titles in Italian.
As with other country Kindle stores, there will be a wide selection as well of free books (over 1,000 to start with in Spain; “hundreds” in Italy) and current best-sellers.
In all, the Kindle store is now pushing close to one million titles — Amazon puts the figure at “over 900,000.”
When the Kindle reader launched in France earlier this year, we noted that it was only a matter of time before Amazon started to extend to other markets — and that’s what we are seeing now.
As with the French model, the device that Amazon is selling in Spain and Italy is the six-inch, keyboard-free, WiFi version, meaning that Amazon does not have to go through the costly process of customizing physical keyboards for local markets. Similar to the Kindle store in other markets like the U.S. and UK, users will be able to read their Kindle content on other devices that support Kindle apps, such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone; and Whispersync will mean that users do not worry about paying monthly bills for the device to stay connected.
In total, Amazon now sells the Kindle in the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain but has yet to sell it its Japanese or Chinese stores — two more launches it is reportedly hard at work on securing.
Taken alone, this is an important part of the groundwork that Amazon is laying to extend its leading position in e-reading devices and purchases — but it is inevitably also a step towards a bigger goal of selling its higher Kindle product — the Kindle Fire tablet — elsewhere eventually, too.
More on the content. In addition to the mainstay of e-books, Amazon is kicking off the stores with some of the newer innovations that it’s been adding to its other Kindle stores.
The Spanish catalog will also include short-form content (e-singles) from the periodicals El Pais and La Vanguardia, although Italy does not appear to have any newspaper or magazine deals at the moment.
Both the Italian and Spanish stores are also offering Amazon’s self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing.