Updated: Stumbling over Kindle in Canada

So I see that the Kindle is now available in Canada. According to the various news sites I read, it is supposed to be shipping now. Being interested in new toys, I decided yesterday to head over to amazon.ca to find out more. Once there, I see exactly…. nothing. No banner at or near the top with “Kindle Now Available in Canada”. No link at all on the front page to the Kindle Store. Nothing. I try searching all departments. I get a variety of books and a lot of accessories for the Kindle, but no link to the Kindle Store.

So, I go back and re-read some of the articles to see if they mentioned a future release date. They all said “available and shipping now”. I decide to wait a day, and go back to the Amazon Canada site this morning. Again, nothing. You would never know, from looking at their web site that the Kindle is available in Canada. Once again, I search all departments, with no luck. I re-check (again) some news articles, and all of them say “shipping now”. I decide to check out the official Amazon press release. Lo and behold, there in the text is the link to the Kindle Store, but its via the amazon.com URL. Okay, not totally surprising, a lot of sites put their international sites below their primary URL.

What is surprising is that Amazon has stumbled a bit at self-promotion. They are normally very good about promoting new features, services and sections on their web site. Their site today did have a very prominent banner and link to their new Home & Garden section, as well as for Windows 7. But for them to not have a banner about the Kindle, and link to the Kindle Store in the “Shop All Departments” section, in either “Book” or “Electronics”, is disappointing and surprising.

My guess is one of two things happened. The first is that the powers that be figured Canadians already knew how to get to the international Kindle site, and didn’t need any sort of guidance. Possible, but unlikely. The second is that the release was rushed out, or put out too soon, and the rest of the Amazon organization didn’t have their part ready, specifically for the Canadian web site. I suspect the second is the most likely. As organizations get larger and more complex, and you have more moving parts involved with a new product or service, miscommunication can be more likely to happen. Having a single ‘controlling mind” coordinating all the activity can help, but even then, mistakes will be made from time to time. For something that occurs on a regular basis, though, I would expect that there is a standard checklist that would be followed. For Amazon, this isn’t the first time they’ve added some new element to their business.

I’ve sent e-mail to their Investor Relations team (the only e-mail address I could find that wasn’t about shipping products and such), and mentioned that their website is lacking in this regard. If I get a response back, I’ll update this post.

An Update 5:11PM Nov 18, 2009

I got a response from Amazon, and their explanation is that this is deliberate. Their intent is to not put information about the Kindle on the Amazon Canada site. This strikes me as a bit silly, since it looks like they are trying to hide the Kindle a bit. Its an odd decision, to be sure.

Another Update: 5:21AM Nov 19, 2009

I thought I would take a quick look at their site again, just for grins. Guess what I see? A prominent banner near the top announcing the Kindle. I suspect they got a few queries about this (much as I would like to take the credit for this). On a related note, I also checked the App Store on iTunes for the Kindle reader, but haven’t found that yet. Searching for Kindle on the Canadian store only brings up other e-readers.