Walt Mossberg

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Using Kindle Outside the U.S.

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.


I live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for six winter months. I would love to have a Kindle. Can I download additional books in Mexico or must I download all I think I’ll want to read before I go?

Yes, you can, but it’s a bit of a convoluted process. Amazon says that, if you are a U.S. customer temporarily outside the U.S., where the Kindle’s wireless downloading capability won’t work, you can “sideload” books over the Kindle’s USB cable — normally used for transferring audiobooks or photos — from your PC or Mac.

According to Amazon, here’s how you do this. First, order a Kindle book on the Amazon Web site from your computer and tell it to send it wirelessly to your Kindle. This will fail. But you can then go to the “Manage Your Kindle” page on the Amazon site, which lists all the Kindle books you’ve bought under the heading “Your Orders.” Select the one you want, and click on the drop-down list at the far right labeled “Download/Send to…”. Select “computer” as your destination, and the book will be downloaded to your PC or Mac as a file with the suffix “azw.” From there, you can manually drag this file into your Kindle using the USB cable.

My husband wants to buy a laptop, but I said not to get one with Vista and to wait for Windows 7. Am I right?

I agree that, if he can do so, he should wait for Windows 7. While it isn’t officially released, my experience with its pre-release version has convinced me that Windows 7 is much faster, less annoying, and more compatible with third-party hardware than Vista is. You can read my first impressions of Windows 7 at: http://bit.ly/r9xEP.

  • You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online free of charge at the new All Things Digital Web site, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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