An Ubuntu Kindle outside the US

I just bought a Kindle and successfully loaded my first book onto it in Canada, using only Ubuntu. The process I used should work anywhere outside the United States. Here’s a quick summary for overseas, would-be Kindle owners.

1] Buy the Kindle. You need a shipping address in the United States where a friend or forwarding service will receive the Kindle and send it on to you. You can use a credit card from any country to actually purchase the Kindle, but not the books.

2] Deregister the Kindle from your Amazon account.

3] Buy yourself an Amazon gift voucher (I started with $20). Just buy a gift card and have it sent to your own email address.

4] Create a new Amazon account with a new email address.

5] Register the Kindle onto your new Amazon account. The Kindle serial number is in tiny letters on the back of the device.

6] Load your gift voucher onto your new Amazon account.

7] Browse the Kindle book store, purchase a book. You’ll need to add a shipping address to your account, use a US shipping address.

8] Got Your Account > Manage My Kindle and scroll down. You’ll see a list of your purchases, choose Download to My Computer then save the file.

9] Plug your Kindle into your computer (Linux, Mac or Windows all work) and drop the file into the documents folder on the Kindle.

Voila, you have a Kindle outside of the USA.

Do not add a non-US credit card to your Amazon kindle account. Use the account only for your Kindle and only put money on the account via gift vouchers. Any non-US credit card will stop Amazon sending books to you on that account. You could repeat the process to register the Kindle to a new account, but you might run out of email addresses!

I’ll post some thoughts on the Kindle once I’ve had a chance to try it out. Right now it’s charging via USB. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of you still wondering whatร‚ย  Kindle is, go here. Think ipod for books. Here’s a picture to help you visualise:

24 thoughts on “An Ubuntu Kindle outside the US”

    1. @James: They’re pretty slick. My top tip is to get a case with it. The Kindle 1 came with a leather case, the Kindle 2 doesn’t. Apparently the screen is pretty fragile, so it’s worth keeping it protected.

  1. Sounds like a very full explanation – but methinks I’ll pass on this bit of technology wizardry.

  2. Hi, I cant seem to register my Kindle anymore. I get a errol message saying that it is registered already while I did deregister it. Amazon says the Kindle has to be in the US te be registered. What to do now? Pls help…

    1. If you have de-registered it from one account, I believe you can register it on another account. When I contact Amazon support I simply tell them that I am “outside the wireless coverage area”. I don’t speak about whether I am physically within the United States or not. It sounds to me like an issue you’ll need to solve with Amazon directly.

  3. Thanks so much, just got my Kindle DX this morning. Have been battling to get some study books downloaded to it from the Kindle store. Worked like a dream.

  4. Hey Callum,

    Unfortunately your workaround does not work anymore (July 9). It last worked for me last week, but no luck now.
    Looks like they finally closed the loophole. I have a sizable gift certificate balance that I can’t use anymore – bummer.

    If you can still use the workaround, please let me (and others) know.


    1. That sounds like a problem. Do you get some kind of error message? I’ll try to buy a book fairly soon, see if it works for me.

      1. Callum,
        I don’t get an immediate error message.
        After pressing “one-click”, no new webpage will load. After a few minutes, I will either get a 404 error, or this amazon page: “An errorr occurred when we tried to process your request. Rest assured, we’re already working on the problem and expect to resolve it shortly.”

  5. Hi man i have a real big problem and i need to fix it … i ordered kindle for my friend and i didnt use the gift option so what happend is that the kindle was rigesterd with my name and i needed to change it to his name so what happend is that i tried to change but it ( diregister it ) did not accept cause am out side U.S so i found that there is an option in the kindle menu and it was ( restore to the factory default ) and i did it .. guss what ? the kindle now is not rigesterd to me any more but the problem is i cant rigester it to any account because am out side U.S ( in the middle east ) and now i dont know what to do ?? if at least there is a way to get the books it will be enough .

    i hope you understand my english ๐Ÿ˜›

    1. You can register the Kindle within your Amazon account. You need to type in the serial number which is printed on the back of the device.

        1. The Kindle itself can only be registered if you’re in wireless service area (cell phone coverage within the US). I’ve never registered my Amazon account on my Kindle. I ignore that option in the menu and leave wireless permanently turned off.

  6. Hi, I want to register my Kindle (device itself) like Ahmed.
    You can surf the internet from kindle via USB, but without registration this service is unavailable.
    I’m looking for somebody who can compare full images of unregistred and registred devices (what files was modified or created)

    1. I’ll be in the US in the next month or so. I guess I could register my Kindle then and take a couple of images. Is the whole operating system exposed when I plug in the Kindle via USB? I’m guessing not. In which case, what’s the process to take a full system image?

  7. Thanks, Callum.
    You can ssh to your kindle with this patch
    1. Copy to root directory in your kindle,
    2. Unplug device
    3. From Home press menu, and go to Settings
    4. Press menu again and pick “Update your kindle” (it must be enable after bin file in root directory)
    5. After update from Home search this string “;debugOn” then “`usbNetwork” (without quotes)
    6. plug in your kindle via usb. Ubuntu will detect new Network interface (in my case was usb0)
    7. From command line # ifconfig usb0
    Then you can $ ssh root@
    password is empty

    I interested in /opt and /var directories
    make copy of unregistred device opt : From ubuntu $ scp -rp root@ ~
    same for /var
    and after registring
    then compare 2 versions
    Asc if you have question

    1. Interesting. Sounds like quite the hacking adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’ll be a little while before I get to the US. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a chance to play with it while I’m down there. Feel free to check back on my location every week or two and remind me if I forget. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. No, it service is in kindle, you need just to enable it. Patch above don’t “touch” any kindle software. All files stores to /test directory.

  8. Hi, very useful information. I can confirm that everything works, I just received my Kindle, deregistered, registered with new account and bought a book. Thank you for compiling this information!

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