Amazon is preparing for its second foray into Colombia, with a Customer Service Centre due to open in Bogotá in October, bringing 600 jobs to the city.
According to The City Paper the new service center will provide support to Amazon customers worldwide in Spanish, English and Portuguese 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The service centre will be Amazon’s second venture into Colombia, having launched Amazon Web Services in the country last year.
I broke the news of Amazon’s South America ambitions last November –
and Reuters caught up about six months later –
But it’s worth looking again at a TNPS post from December 2017 to remind ourselves just how much the Kindle store has been sidelined as Amazon pursues other goals.
Back in (the) heady days of 2011-12 it seemed the Amazon Kindle store was on a mission to take ebooks to the world.
From just the USA in 2007 Amazon opened Kindle stores in the UK in 2010, then dashed off four in 2011 (Germany, France, Italy, Spain) and five in 2012 (Japan, China, Canada, Brazil, India). In 2013 the pace slowed to just two new Kindle stores (Mexico and Australia), and in 2014 just one (Netherlands).
Since then, nothing.
We’re now just a few short months away (November) from four full years since Amazon opened a new Kindle store. Amazon has launched operations in Singapore and Vietnam, and has ambitions in Scandinavia, but books aren’t part of the deal.
Amazon bought out the Middle East online retailer Souq, and there are the faintest hints that maybe Amazon is looking seriously at the Arab ebook market –
But for Latin America beyond Mexico and Brazil, there is no suggestion books are part of Amazon’s agenda. This despite Sweden’s Storytel preparing to launch in the region this year –
It’s not that Amazon is indifferent to the global markets. Quite the opposite. In December, Amazon Music Unlimited, only launched in 2016, added 28 countries to its reach.
The latest additions to the Music Unlimited list were:
Belgium • Iceland • Bolivia • Latvia • Bulgaria • Liechtenstein • Chile • Lithuania • Colombia • Luxembourg • Costa Rica • Malta • Cyprus • Netherlands • Czech Republic • Panama • Ecuador • Peru • El Salvador • Poland • Estonia • Portugal • Finland • Slovakia • Greece • Sweden • Hungary • Uruguay
None of these countries have dedicated Kindle stores, although one, Belgium, is for ebooks hooked up with the French Kindle store.
Said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music,
Today’s announcement signifies an important moment for Amazon Music Unlimited and our international customers as we continue to offer more music fans all over the world a completely new way to hear expertly-curated playlists and songs from their favorite artists.
Meanwhile Amazon Video has since late 2016 been offering video streaming of the latest TV and films to more than 200 countries, those around the world wanting to read ebooks from their favourite authors will have to look elsewhere.
The KDP help pages on Amazon list forty or so token languages (I say token, because seriously, just how many authors are there out there writing in Scots Gaelic, Manx, Breton, Cornish or Northern Frisian?), but only seven of those forty are not west European.
As Amazon makes clear,
Content uploaded in languages that Kindle doesn’t support won’t display properly on Kindle devices and will be removed from sale.
Language support only goes so far to explaining Amazon’s indifference to the global ebook markets.All those countries in Latin America speaking Spanish, yet only Mexico has a Kindle store. There are Anglophone and francophone countries around the world have no access to the Kindle store.
Combine this with the fact that Amazon continues to impose the $2 whispernet surcharge on buyers outside the Kindle countries, where the Kindle store is accessible (much of the world is blocked from even seeing the Kindle store) and it’s clear Amazon’s stated goal,
to have every book, ever published, in any language available for Kindle customers to purchase and begin reading in less than 60 seconds
has been quietly put on the backburner.
Let’s hope that changes soon. But don’t hold your breath waiting.