Purchasing books from another country’s Kindle store… AKA How I finally managed to buy a copy of First Shift by Hugh Howey (author of the Silo / Wool series)

Towards the end of May this year I discovered a Kindle book called Wool, an omnibus edition of five books in a science fiction series.  It is brilliant and recommended to everyone (I’m up to book 4 so far and I’m loving it).  It was a bargain at £3.  At the time I bought Wool there was a 6th book in the series called First Shift on sale for a couple of pounds, but I thought that I’d wait to see what I thought of the omnibus first.

So I started reading, and a few days later I thought I would buy First Shift so that it was on the Kindle when I finished Wool.  I had also looked up the author’s website.  Hugh Howey – who up till then was self published – had recently announced that the rights to his books in the UK had been sold to a traditional publisher.

This led to a strange situation where neither Wool nor First Shift were available to buy in the Kindle store.  Wool re-appeared shortly after but at more than double the price and with a hardback release date of January 2013.  First Shift is still not available in the store and the earliest (physical book) publication date I’ve seen is November 2013 – that’s currently 538 days away(!).

So I sent Hugh an email because he sells signed copies of his books from his website and this was the only way I would be able to get a copy.  He replied very quickly and I was hugely impressed.  Although this sounds like a great solution, I was not keen on the $15 postage price, so I held off.

Then I had an idea.

I went to Amazon.es (Spain.)

And they had the book available to download… now all I needed to do was find out how to buy from the Spanish Kindle store.  A quick search later and I found out that if you have an address on your Amazon account that is in another country, you can change your Kindle settings to shop in that country’s Kindle store.  Log on to your Amazon account, go to the Manage Your Kindle page and go from there.

Nervously I gave it a shot.  All seems to have gone well and I now have First Shift on my Kindle (in English).  It cost 3 Euro (about £2.50).  I then reverted back to my default UK address and switched back to shopping in the UK Kindle store.

There was no need to create a new account on Amazon.es – my regular account logged me in just fine.  I got an email receipt as usual (priced in Euro), and the book appears with all the others  in my Cloud Reader.  The only strange thing that occurred was that it seemed like it was taking a long time for the book to download (over wifi) and when I checked the downloading items, the Kindle was also downloading a Spanish language dictionary.  I removed this from the device and was done.

I’m very happy with the outcome.  I have been able to buy the book I wanted at an excellent price and the author has a legitimate sale.  My Kindle is working normally.  Once I finish Wool I will launch right into First Shift.  It’s a shame that I had to jump through so many hoops, but for me it’s worth it.

The Wool / Silo series reviews

• Wool

• Wool 2 – Proper Gauge

• Wool 3 – Casting Off

• Wool 4 – The Unraveling

• Wool 5 – The Stranded

• First Shift – Legacy

Second Shift – Order



  1. Brian

    Did you just use an arbitrary address in Spain, or did you use an address that belongs to you in some way?

  2. Adrian

    I just did this also to buy some French language books. Works great! Thank you so much.

    Fun thing is, afterwards I bought a new Kindle Paperwhite and now it’s coming in the mail registered to Amazon.fr instead of Amazon.com.

  3. Jackie

    How do you leave an address if you don’t live there? I have an address in England (I live in Germany and can only buy from Amazon.de) where I have bought goods and had them sent to a friend in England. Could I use this address?

  4. Jackie

    thank you SO much for this information, I put in my mother’s address and have just bought and received some books. A fantastic help.

  5. I. Plana (@israplana)

    Attention! If you have a “household” (you share your library with your spouse and children), it will be automatically suppressed, without warning, and you will be put under the rule of “180 days”, so half a year waiting to set your household again.

    Amazon support is great as usual, though, they understood and manually overrode this problem. I wonder if you could switch, buy whatever books you want in the desired market, and then contact support to reset the household. I won’t risk it.

    We suggested to them to set a system where the whole household can migrate, with one adult starting the process and the other adult approving it -the same way you set a household initially.

    So, my only option now is to contact the publisher every time I want a book that is not in my market, as I was doing before. Grrrr.

  6. Henrik N

    Thanks for this! I got a message that the purchase couldn’t be completed because I wasn’t in the given country. So I used Hola VPN (a free Chrome extension) to appear to be in that country. Then it worked.

  7. Marissa

    Thank you so much for this tip! I live in the US and it was driving me crazy that I couldn’t find a Kindle version of a book published in the UK. I had an address there a few years ago, so I used it to change my account over long enough to buy the book and then change back again.

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