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Using a Kindle in Indonesia

15 December 2011

Before I came to Indonesia, I bought a Kindle in the United States. I was already a longtime Amazon user, and I registered my Kindle there. I’m happy to report that I have had no problems using the Kindle here in Bandung, in Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta), or even in Kuningan (a four-hour drive northeast of Bandung).

Both 3G and wi-fi work fine on the Kindle here on Java (the 3G service is what Amazon calls WhisperNet). I have downloaded numerous Web articles to read later via Instapaper with no difficulty. However, the connections are often very slow here. Free wi-fi is widely available, but be prepared for sometimes agonizing slowness.

I’ve been told, but have not verified, that you must register the Kindle in the U.S. with a U.S. credit card. However, it seems you can also buy books for the Kindle using an Amazon gift card instead of a credit card. Check the Kindle support page for details.

You must have an Amazon account to buy Kindle books. Amazon accounts on non-U.S. Amazon websites are recognized, according to Amazon. However, there is no Indonesian site for Amazon.

At first I intended to avoid buying the hardcopy Lonely Planet Indonesia guidebook and put it on the Kindle instead. However, I decided against that, based on what I read at some other websites. I have lots of novels and other books (as well as numerous Web articles, thanks to Instapaper — check it out if you haven’t yet). There are very few quality fiction books in English available here in Bandung, so I would be quite starved for leisure reading without my Kindle.

Update (July 15, 2012): To clarify, I read books on my Kindle almost every day in Indonesia. I usually keep the “wireless” (3G and wi-fi) turn OFF — because that way, the battery lasts a very, very long time (about 3 weeks without charging!). You only need the wireless to download books. You can download free e-books from sources other than Amazon using any wi-fi connection.

Learn about lending Kindle books, free Kindle books, and Kindle book file formats > here.

If you have registered your Kindle, you  can send your personal documents (free) to your Kindle by e-mailing the files to your @kindle.com e-mail address. Documents can be in MS Word format, plain text, or HTML (as well as some others). Note that if you transfer the files via WhisperNet, you will be charged a fee — but via e-mail it is free.

You can also transfer files from a computer to your Kindle with a USB cable.

Kindle book file formats:  .AZW .AZW1 .AZW2

Kindle also accepts these file formats: .MOBI (no DRM); PRC (no DRM); and .MP3 (audio files)

39 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 December 2011 11:50 am

    This is a nice info.
    I’m an Indonesian currently living in the US and have been considering to purchase Kindle. However, I have some doubts that it won’t be usable when I return to Indonesia a few years from now.

    For the 3G connection, did you use local 3G provider such as Telkomsel, etc.?

  2. 23 December 2011 12:06 pm

    Hi, Adila. The WhisperNet 3G service from Amazon is totally free, so you can use it without having an account with Telkomsel or any other local provider. (Amazon did this so travelers can use their Kindle all over the world, I guess.) Also, the Kindle works fine with free wi-fi at places like McDonald’s and J.CO. The real obstacle to using Kindle is your credit card linked to your Kindle account in the U.S. If you can get a U.S. credit card and link it to your Kindle account through Amazon.com, I think you will be able to buy books forever (as long as you keep that credit card active). But even if you did not have that, the books stored on your Kindle would still work anywhere. Usually I keep the wireless & 3G turned OFF because that way the battery lasts more than one month (e-Ink Kindle, not the color model).

  3. 24 December 2011 8:07 am

    Hi Mindy,
    Thanks for the detailed explanation…
    I think I’ll get one soon from Amazon.

  4. Salman permalink
    3 January 2012 3:16 am

    Are you using a US credit card to purchase your books?

  5. 5 January 2012 7:49 am

    Salman – Yes, I am using a U.S. credit card to purchase books from Amazon.

  6. 6 January 2012 5:23 am

    i use kindle dx free 3g only for over a year now, still network is connected but you cant go anywhere using embeded browser, it said due to local restriction, web browsing is not avaliable for all country

  7. 15 January 2012 3:11 pm

    ngutip – I never use the embedded browser on my Kindle. Even in the U.S., it is slow and clunky. I guess it might be okay if you had to check e-mail or something …

  8. heidiworld permalink
    26 March 2012 1:42 am

    hi mindy, I’m glad to find this useful article as I’m now waiting for my Kindle Touch brought by a friend who just get back from the US. but the problem is, I’m not sure whether he’s already registered the Kindle in the US. if he didn’t do that, would it still able to use in Indonesia? I think it’s okay for me if I couldn’t buy Amazon books, but I hope I can use the Wi-Fi connection.

  9. 26 March 2012 8:31 am

    I’m not sure, but I think all Kindles must be registered. The U.S.-vs.-another-country issue is most important where the credit card is concerned. It is all tied together in your Amazon account. So first, take a look at your ID or profile on Amazon. The basic information does not matter much — but it is the country where the credit card was issued that determines whether you can buy Amazon books.

    The 3G wireless (and wi-fi) works everywhere (well, maybe not in the jungle), and it does not matter which country you have registered in.

  10. nurul permalink
    3 December 2012 7:29 pm

    Will the electricity cause some troubles?where can i go if i have trouble with my kindle?

  11. 3 December 2012 9:45 pm

    The electricity is no problem. All you need is a plug adapter from Ace Hardware. The power supply and the power cable are okay with Indonesian electricity.

    If you have any trouble with the Kindle, I don’t think you can find any official repair in Indonesia. There’s nothing in Singapore or Malaysia either, because Kindle is not officially supported in those countries.

    I used my Kindle in Indonesia for 10 months and never had any problems — Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Lombok, Bali.

  12. Catur W permalink
    7 December 2012 5:31 pm

    Hi mindy,
    Thanx for your article. Right now I am considering to buy kindle touch 3g, but still need to find the seller in indonesia.

  13. tomo permalink
    24 January 2013 12:13 am

    Hi Mindy,
    when you went to Indonesia, have you changed your home address and country for Kindle to Indonesia? and you have no problem to buy ebooks? Thanks for infos!

  14. 24 January 2013 12:37 am

    I did not change my “permanent address” when I lived in Indonesia. But the only address that matters is the address on the credit card. You need a credit card that Amazon will accept, and their acceptance depends on the country in the address you have associated with that credit card.

  15. drapache permalink
    1 February 2013 3:40 pm

    which kindle do you have Mindy? Since you mentioned kindle supports .MP3, I suppose you must have the one with a real keyboard, right? As far as i know, the rest of the Kindle line-up does not have an audio jack or speakers.

  16. paijho permalink
    5 February 2013 4:32 pm

    I live in Indonesia. I have an amazon.com account. I have bought and received books and watches. Now I want kindle. But I’m nervous about not being able to use it to do what people normally do with their pads: play games, watch movies, work with it. So, maybe for now I’ll stick to ipad

  17. 5 February 2013 8:59 pm

    @drapache – I have the Kindle Keyboard model. It does have a keyboard, and an audio jack.

    The new Kindle Fire HD is similar to the iPad, with a touchscreen keyboard.

  18. 5 February 2013 9:01 pm

    @paijho – If you already have an iPad, probably you don’t need a Kindle. One thing I love about my (black and white) Kindle is the battery life. I can read on long flights — such as Florida to Jakarta — and the battery never dies.

  19. Bernie permalink
    17 February 2013 8:25 pm

    Hi Mindy, we live in Jakarta and want to get a kindle for our son’s birthday. He wants a kindle fire but I saw a recent review of kindle fire in Australia which said its great if you live in the US but in Australia you can only access books-the other content like movies TV and games is only accessible in the US. It didnt say whether this is linked to having a US credit card. From the comments above it seems like there’s no problem accessing books in Indonesia (as long as you have a US credit card) but I assume like Australia other content is not accessible in Indonesia, so we’d be better off getting him a kindle white. Does that sound right? Or is it all about having a US credit card? Thanks a lot

  20. 17 February 2013 8:34 pm

    Bernie – Stuff that you BUY is okay anywhere. But streaming video content only works in the home country. For example, we cannot stream regular BBC TV shows in the U.S., but people in the U.K. can. Streaming content from the U.S. TV networks cannot be streamed in other countries. The sites detect your IP address and tell you it’s not available in the country you’re in. I don’t know about the games.

  21. 28 April 2013 6:02 pm

    Hi Mindy, very nice article for those who willing to buy Kindle and use it in Indonesia. Just a quick question that maybe missed – could you explain on how did you register the 3G service in Indonesia? Just directly go to Telkomsel and they will install it for you? Or go to specific website for the registration. Please advise, this article really made my day before going home to Indonesia next week! Thanks again.

  22. 28 April 2013 8:59 pm

    Hallo, Leon. No need to register anything — Amazon’s “WhisperNet” 3G works all over Indonesia (in Jakarta, Jogja, Lombok, Bali, Pontianak). All you do is turn on wireless on the Kindle, and the 3G-capable Kindle will connect. It’s automatic and FREE.

  23. Gusti permalink
    3 May 2013 1:14 pm

    Hello there… i am Gusti. i am Balinese.. i really want to buy a kindle.. but i see that the amazone.com doesn’t support the kindle here.. how i can use it if they not support kindle here…😦

  24. 3 May 2013 9:00 pm

    Hallo, Gusti. All the answers to your question are already here. Sudah di sini.

  25. yola permalink
    24 May 2013 7:07 pm

    Hi Mindy,
    I’m using iPad and I wanted to download kindle app to my iPad, but since I’m using the Indonesian credit card, they say that I cannot download it. Any suggestion? How about iBooks? Do they have enough collections? I only want to buy books, not movies etc.
    Thank you in advance🙂

  26. 25 May 2013 1:54 am

    Hallo, Yolanda.

    Just look at the Amazon.com website in the “Kindle store.” I’m sure they have many thousands of books. Some free ones, but most cost about $10 U.S.

  27. eno permalink
    9 June 2013 9:54 am

    Do you know where u should go, if you have trouble with ur kindle in jakarta?

  28. 9 June 2013 7:52 pm

    eno – I have no idea. Maybe you would have to go to Singapore?

  29. andi permalink
    4 August 2013 9:20 pm

    Halo Mindy, I am Andi in Singapore (for Eno..even in Singapore there is no repair shop for kindle)

    How much for kindle version compare to printed one?
    And does it work with *.PDF file? I mean in case I download from others sources

    Thank
    Andi

  30. Liza permalink
    12 September 2013 11:04 am

    Hi. My brother just bought me a kindle. Unfortunately I cannot register with Indonesia CC/address. So what should I do then? thank you.

  31. Irwan permalink
    16 October 2013 2:31 pm

    @Liza: try this.. http://kindleindon.wpengine.com/?p=190
    I haven’t tried it myself, still thinking I should buy kindle or not🙂

  32. Christine W permalink
    23 December 2013 5:41 am

    Hi Mindy, I’m planning to get Kindle Paperwhite 2nd generation wifi only. Do I have to buy the 3G for it to work in Indonesia? I’m currently living in the US and will be moving back to Indonesia soon. I have my US credit card and US address. So I guess I can use my kindle in Indonesia with my US card and address? Did you change you country location on your Kindle or you put it on United States even when you are in Indonesia? Is it true that some books are not available for purchase in Indonesia? Sorry it’s a lot of questions! Thanks so much, Mindy!

  33. 23 December 2013 7:42 am

    @Christine W – You will not need 3G to download books in Indonesia. I used wi-fi in my apartment in Dago (Bandung) all the time. I did not change the location – I kept U.S. as the location all the time. There were no purchase limitations as long as I had all that U.S. information in my account.

  34. Reinaldo Harjanto permalink
    8 July 2014 1:19 pm

    Hi mindy. Is there any way to download the kindle app for ipad in Indonesia? I tried downloading the kindle app, but it didn’t work because the app is not available in Indonesia store.
    Looking forward to hear back from you. Thanks a lot

  35. 16 July 2014 9:59 pm

    @Reinaldo – Probably you would need to get an Amazon account in another country … or possibly even a new iTunes account. I know these sites are specific to the different countries, and some countries such as Indonesia have a lot of restrictions on them.

  36. 31 October 2014 12:28 am

    Kindle now has entered the Indonesian market🙂
    You can get the kindle you want here.

  37. Eggy Raynaldi Rachman Nurhadi permalink
    12 December 2014 9:51 am

    Hi, I’m Eggy. I’m exchange student from Indonesia. Now I live in US for a year. I have a question about kindle, what if it broke, is there any place in Indonesia where I can fix it? thanks

  38. 12 December 2014 10:28 am

    I don’t know the answer, Eggy. Sorry.

  39. 25 January 2016 11:03 am

    i can no longer connect to wifi with my kindle. think i dropped it and it may be a hardware problem. do you know anywhere in jakarta that fixes kindles? i will try ratu plaza or other computer places next week but thought i would ask here first.

    david

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