Amazon Selectively Choosing Not to Sell WiFi Kindle Paperwhites to the US


Kindle Paperwhite Fonts

All week I’ve been keeping track of the mysterious Kindle Paperwhite disappearance, posting articles when the $119 model became unavailable and then again the next day when the $139 Paperwhite vanished, leaving only the more expensive Kindle Paperwhite with 3G wireless available for purchase.

Then yesterday I noticed something even stranger that makes me think that there is no shortage on the WiFi Kindle Paperwhite at all, that Amazon is instead selectively choosing not to sell them to people in the United States anymore. This makes it even more likely that Amazon is going to announce the Kindle Paperwhite 2 very soon.

The reason I think Amazon has decided not to sell WiFi Paperwhites specifically in the US at this time is because they are still selling them internationally from Amazon.com. I could understand if they were selling them from the international Amazon websites, but in addition to that they are still selling WiFi Paperwhites from Amazon.com.

Typically Amazon doesn’t advertise the international Kindle pages, you just have to know where to look for them. I stumbled across the international WiFi Kindle Paperwhite page yesterday and surprise, surprise. The product page says the $139 WiFi Paperwhite is in stock and ready to ship today. Just as long as you don’t live in the US, that is. Select US from the drop-down list and it directs you to the other WiFi Paperwhite page where it is out of stock and only available used.

Everyone knows that Amazon usually releases new Kindles the last of the year, and they are expected to make an announcement soon, but Amazon has never handled a new product release like this before, making a certain model unavailable leading up to launch. Usually Amazon can’t let go of older models and they keep them around for ages. Just look at the Kindle DX. It was released way back in 2010 and it’s still around.

19 Responses to “Amazon Selectively Choosing Not to Sell WiFi Kindle Paperwhites to the US”

  1. I really don’t know how I feel about this. I appreciate you finding this out, but sometimes their gamesmanship just gets to be a little much. Kindle is the biggest dog on the block, why be so coy? Maybe I’m overreacting, but it seems like its going to be a whole bunch of nothing. B&N hasn’t updated anything in a long while, their business is going belly up. Kobo comes out with what looks like great stuff, but really is a little smoke and mirrors. Sony lays an egg with a reader w/out a front light. And then Amazon is dumping stock on the rest of the world before releasing…..what?! To be quite honest, I don’t feel like the people are being listened to as to what creates a great ebook experience with an ereader.

    • B&N did announce they were pulling out of the hardware business a while back and then quickly reneged on that idea. They have since announced they would be finally releasing new/updated hardware this Fall (whether that will be new tablets or e-readers remains to be seen and I’m really crossing my fingers for an updated Nook e-reader as the Simple Touch w/ Glowlight is very antiquated now).

      What do you mean when you say Kobo releases devices that are little more than smoke and mirrors? IMO, The Kobo Aura HD looked like a pretty impressive device despite the wasted screen real estate due to formatting reasons. The just announced Kobo Aura also looks like a pretty neat little device as well. I had hoped it would’ve been a little better than what was announced as it seems to similar to the Kindle in specs (though I’m impressed by the screen and it’s lack of depth within the bezel).

      In your opinion, what exact specs/features constitute an acceptable e-reader for public consumption? Just curious. 🙂

  2. I can’t help wonder what would happen if they didn’t announce a new WiFi device and just sold the WiFi/3G combo? It just seems like an odd way to go about it, the longer they drag their feet on an announcement, the longer people have to find another product. In other word, leaving a vacuum in the product line seems like a dumb move.

  3. hej,
    I just wonder if you had the chance to check the new Icarus8? Not so many 8 inch e-readers around…
    Thanks for the great work!
    Tohar

  4. I stopped at my local Radio Shack yesterday to see if they perhaps were having a “fire sale” on Paperwhites like they did no Nooks. I ask if they had any in the store and was told that they were directed to “send them all back”.

    Interesting ….

  5. Amazon ships product to different locations from different warehouses so there is nothing strange about this. All it means is the warehouses they have “forward-positioned” to ship KPWs internationally still have stock but the distribution centers serving the US don’t.

    It may be that a new KPW is incoming (almost a certainty, really) but this could also be just an inventory management issue. This by itself tells us nothing other than the US has soaked up its full allocation of paperwhites.

    • Normally I’d agree with that logic, but this has gotten too insidious. If they can sell it to a couple hundred countries, including Mexico, then they could sell in the US if they really wanted to. I don’t think this is any kind of supply issue at all. It’s like David said with the folks at RadioShack saying they had orders to send them back. This is all too fishy to be a supply issue.

  6. I’m betting they are trying to move the more expensive 3G units that haven’t sold before they are totally ignored after the new Paperwhite 2 release.

    • This is certainly a possibility. However it may be as simple as wanting a sufficient supply for the new Mexico store without building more units. If there is a new paperwhite in the pipeline (I would think there almost certainly is) than the production facilities may already be changing over to build it. If this is the case, they may not have the ability to build any more of the current model. With the introduction of new Kindle stores in new international locations, Amazon would want a sufficient supply to be able to meet demand. So the low end units get allocated to the new markets where the 3G unit might now work anyhow. If someone in the US REALLY, REALLY wants a new Paperwhite with out waiting for the new model, they can still get one, they just have to buy the most expensive model.

  7. I may be super optimistic, but as they are probably launching a new Paperwhite (at, hopefully, the same price), they don’t want people to get “aggrieved” by buying a device that is going to be repleaced. (FYI, english is not my native language, so sorry about any mistakes 😛 )

    • You’re most likely correct on that one.

      A perfect example would be what happened with the release of the iPad 4. Many Apple users anxiously purchased their iPad 3 in March of 2012 only to have it superseded by the iPad 4 in November 2012 after only a mere 7 – 8 months of availability. It’s safe to say many were not pleased but such is life today with how fast technology is advancing.

    • I think it’s a combination of that, and trying to avoid a large number of returns of the current model Paperwhite when the replacement comes out. Processing a large number of individual returns is much more expensive (especially since Amazon generous picks up the return shipping charges for the customer) than having stores return stock in bulk and thus avoid the situation in the first place.

    • I wonder if they might put the current version back on the US market after the new one is announced. Then people would buy the old one with their eyes open and have no reason for an “aggrieved” return.

  8. You cannot get the Paperwhite in the UK either. Am getting very frustrated as I want to change my old kindle for my birthday in a few weeks.

    • Why get frustrated when you a successor to the Paperwhite is most likely right around the corner? I don’t think a little bit of inconveniencing will hurt you.

  9. When the Kindle Touch was released in the US, at the same time in Amazon.es(Spain) they were selling the old version with the tag NEW. As if we had never visited amazon.com … I felt cheated that time.