Amazon Kindle, Working around regional restrictions…

Few weeks back, a friend of mine was visiting the US for some business of his own, and I couldn’t help to ask him to bring back an Amazon Kindle for me…

I choose the cheapest model, the one with the WIFI only, with 6" screen, it seemed satisfactory to my needs, I won’t need to 3G thing as I don’t want to pay data transfer fees for downloading the ebooks to my kindle, and the 3G won’t add much value to me…

Anyway, I was thrilled to put my hands on it, and I started to ease myself into reading books on that lovely device, I went ahead and set my regional settings to the US, and started browsing the free ebooks available on Amazon’s Kindle Store, I downloaded over 6 ebooks in less than 1 hour, and downloaded samples for 4 more…


Few days later, I went back online to grab more free books, there it was, Amazon just won’t let me, moreover they sent me the following email:

Dear <NAME>,

I see that you attempted to purchase "<Book Name> [Kindle Edition]" while in a different country than the United States listed on your Amazon account.  Certain Kindle titles are not available everywhere.  We are reaching out to you to ensure the best possible service for your account.

If you have moved to a different country, you can easily update your country for your Amazon account at www.Amazon.com/manageyourkindle

If this is not the case, and you would like to share information that you live in the United States, we can be reached by fax at 001-206-266-1838 from outside the US, or 206-266-1838 from within the US.  Helpful information includes:
–       Passport
–       Military ID
–       Permanent Resident Card
–       Driver’s License
–       Other state photo identity card

We want to assure you that we handle this information in a secure manner: these are dedicated fax lines, staffed in an area with limited employee access.  The fax is never printed, just converted to an electronic image that is used to check the country, then the image is deleted.

Best regards,

Account Specialist
Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.
http://www.amazon.com/your-account

That totally made my head go spinning, and I was so upset, that I decided to use my kindle whether amazon liked it or not, and as one guy on some forum said "If your money isn’t good enough for them, steal it" …

So here’s what I’ve done:

  • Created an OpenVPN server on a some cheap VPS in the US
  • Connected my linux-based access point to it
  • Set the VPN link as the default GW for the kindle and a windows based VM (now my kindle is visible on the internet with a US IP, as well as the VM)
  • I de-registered my kindle from my existing account

Now using the US IP:

  • Created a new account with hotmail email (using the US IP)
  • Registered the kindle to that new account

And that was it, I’m off buying books and downloading samples and free ebooks like crazy 🙂

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