For some reason, there are many products that are not available for delivery to Singapore from major retailers like Amazon in the USA. Some of these products include the hugely popular Amazon Kindle 3, and many others. Fortunately due to the popularity of these products, many people have figured ways to go around it. By the way, here is my review on Amazon Kindle 3, in case you are interested.
This post details the exact step by step i took to get Amazon Kindle 3 in Singapore, and to buy kindle books without any problem.
Step 1: Register for a Vpost/Borderlinx/ComGateway Account
For all my USA purchases, I have only used Vpost. So far they have delivered, although i must add that their delivery times can be a little erratic, especially during the holiday seasons.
I have not used Borderlinx, or ComGateway, although i know of people using them without any issues as well. For me, i am sticking to Vpost, since they have delivered my products without any problems.
Bascially Vpost, Borderlinx, and ComGateway are just intermediaries that have USA address for you to ship the items you want to, and then from that USA address, they will deliver it to your address in Singapore.
To sign up for Vpost, go here
To sign up for Borderlinx, go here
To sign up for ComGateway, go here
Registering at Vpost/Borderlinx/Comgateway will give you a US Postal Address for you to send your products to. (obviously this step is not just limited to buying Kindle or Amazon products, it can be used to buy other stuff from other USA retailers)
Once you get your USA postal address, go to step 2.
Step 2: Go to Amazon.com, and add the product to your shopping cart.
For a shortcut to Amazon Kindle 3 (wifi version), click here. Seriously in Singapore, you really only need a wifi model. This is because if you have a smartphone – either an Iphone or an Andriod phone (which you probably do), you can use your smartphone as a wifi hub for your kindle.
After adding the kindle, you might also want to add one of the beautiful Amazon Kindle cases for your Kindle. Check them out here.
After you add the product(s) to your shopping cart, proceed to checkout. You will be asked to login if you have not already done so. If you do not have an Amazon account, you can create one.
Step 3: Add the USA postal address from Vpost/Borderlinx/ComGateway to your Amazon account and select it as the shipping address.
You might already have a Singapore shipping address on Amazon. If you want to get your hands on Amazon Kindle 3 or other products that retailers in USA only deliver within USA, then you got to get Amazon to deliver to your USA postal address given by Vpost/Borderlinx/ComGateway.
Step 4: Choose the cheapest shipping option.
Most of the time, Amazon offers a free shipping option for products above a certain price.
Step 5: Once you have verified your details, click on “Place Your Order”
Once we have placed our order, we are ready for our next phase – communicating with our 3rd party guys about the purchase and making payments for shipping charges.
Step 6: Email to a designated email from your 3rd Party about the order number.
Basically i forward the entire email invoice from Amazon to my 3rd party forwarding service, in my case Vpost.
For Vpost, the email to forward your invoice to is firstname.lastname@example.org. You should receive an automated email reply from them acknowledging your email.
Step 7: Wait for your shipment to arrive at your 3rd party forwarder’s USA postal address and make payments
You can track the progress of your shipment on Amazon, using the instructions in their email.
Once your parcel has reached your forwarder, you will receive an email asking you to make payments.
For Vpost users, you can estimate your shipping cost using this table. As an estimate, my Amazon Kindle 3 cost $18, but after using the promo code, i only paid $9. For my Fujitsu Scansnap 1300, my shipping cost using Vpost to Singapore was $56.62, after 10% discount using promo codes, i paid $50.96
NOTE: that if the total cost of the product and the shipping/insurance exceeds $400 SGD, you are likely to pay GST on the product. This of cos depends on the exchange rates, which at the moment, is favorable to Singapore.
If you are using Vpost, you will be able to see a link to the promo codes when you are making payments.
Step 8: After you make payments, you just have to wait for your shipment to arrive!
At the point, there is nothing else to be done already, you just have to wait for your shipment to arrive. You can occasionally call 1605, and press 4 to go to Vpost call centre to find out the status of your shipment. Do get your Vpost ID or your NRIC/Passport ready for verification.
When you receive your Kindle, do give me a shoutout in the comments section!
Once you received your Amazon Kindle 3, the next step would be to purchase kindle books from Amazon.
The remaining steps are to ensure that seamless purchase and delivery of Amazon Kindle books without Amazon locking your account and prompting you for proof of residency in USA.
Amazon Kindle 3 and other products are not meant to be delivered out of USA, at least not yet. Hence it is programmed in Amazon website that if you purchase kindle ebooks directly using your Singapore credit card or if you purchase kindle ebooks “outside of singapore”, it will alert Amazon of this abnormality.
Fret not, as many others have figure out how to get around this. Here’s how to get your hands on Amazon Kindle books without alerting Amazon to prompt you for proof of residency in the USA
Step 1: Add a proper USA address
You will first need a real USA postal address. If you have added the address given to you by Vpost/Borderlinx/ComGateway, it should be fine.
Step 2a: Go to Manage your kindle, and Change the Location to USA
Go to Digital Content >> Manage Your Kindle link in your amazon account. Navigate to the header “Country Settings” on the left hand sidebar and change the address to USA. See screenshot.
Note – If you are facing some problems with this, go download a VPN Service that allows you to change your IP address such that it appears that you are visiting the Amazon website from USA. An example of such a VPN are Hotspot Shield. You can also go to HideMyAss.com, and enter the Amazon website into the address bar for the same effect.
After using the VPN, see if there is any issue with changing the address to USA.
Step 2b: Change the One Click Setting default address to your Vpost address (Oregon)
This step was added after i updated the post – see Update 20th July 2011 at the end of this post.
Certain US States charge taxes on purchases, including kindle ebooks. This will apply to you even if you buy them in Singapore because Amazon assume you are buying them from USA. Hence its important that all your settings are set to a US State that does not charge taxes. Examples of States that charge sales tax include North Carolina, Illinois, California, and Arizona. States that does not charge sales tax include Oregon which incidentally is our Vpost State (this is where we want to set our US address). For more info on taxes, see here.
So this is what we need to do. After you set your country to USA above, all you need to do now is also to update your default address to the Vpost address in One Click Settings.
Go to your amazon account, Settings >> One Click Settings.
Go to your Vpost Address, and click on the “Edit” for the One Click Settings For This Address
Then finally check the 1-Click dropdown: Include Address in your 1-Click dropdown box, as shown below.
Step 3: Purchase of Amazon Gift Cards
To purchase Amazon Kindle books without alerting Amazon, the way to go is to purchase Gift Cards using your Singapore Credit Card and apply the Gift Card to your Account.
It works because Gift Cards are available to anyone from any country, and you always can use gift cards to offset any purchase, in our case, Amazon Ebooks, without leaving any traces.
To purchase Amazon Gift Cards, go here. Follow the instructions and apply Gift Card to your account.
Step 4: Purchase Kindle Books
Once you have done step 1-3, and there are available funds in your gift card you can just browse to your favorite Kindle book and buy.There is no need to use VPN or anything.
I would always go to my Gift Card Balance page here and make sure there is sufficient funds before i purchase any kindle books.
Update 6th July 2011: There are readers who have reported that despite using gift card balance to purchase kindle ebooks, they still get prompted to update their country. I have since verified that this is indeed true with my latest purchase of kindle ebooks. In order to circumvent this, all you need to do is just use a VPN service, like Hotshield, then once you are connected, you can continue to purchase. Thats all i did.
Now just go and buy the kindle books you wanted using the 1-click purchase.
Step 5: Turn on the Wireless feature on your kindle
Once you turn on the wireless feature on your kindle, your book will automatically be downloaded to your kindle, provided your kindle has already setup the necessary settings for the wireless connection.
I have used the above steps to get my Amazon Kindle 3 and bought all the Kindle books i wanted without any problem. If you experience anything or if you have question, feel free to post in the comments below. Will do my best to reply. If possible, do research it on your own, as i might not be available to answer your questions.
Update 20th July 2011: After buying countless kindle books, i realized i have paying unnecessary taxes on the purchases. It worked out to be almost $20, just paying for taxes!! This happened because i had stated a North Carolina address in USA, which is a State that is subjected to taxes. This only happened because i have been using One-Click to buy. And my default One Click address was set to North Carolina. I have since changed my One Click default address to Oregon, my Vpost Address (Oregon is a state not subjected by taxes, I guess this is why Vpost setup their forwarding address there). I have bought several books since, and there have been no taxes charged to my purchases. With the ever changing taxation landscape in USA, i don’t know if this will continue indefinitely, but i will surely update any changes.
Update: 28th July 2011:
Amazon’s customer service is AMAZING! I realize the back casing for my kindle does not snap together properly, leaving a small gap. It does not affect my reading at all, but who doesn’t want their items to look nice right? Good thing I realize my kindle is still under the one year warranty. Coincidentally i am planning to travel to USA next week, so i decided to make an overseas call to check if they can take a look at the device and determine if i am eligible for an exchange. Bear in mind this is the first time i called Amazon’s customer service. In Singapore, you know what happens if you go to a service centre, the customer service guys will usually look at the device – a computer, handphone, gadget, etc - and determine if it was a factory defect or was it cause by human negligence. If it was caused by human negligence, you are not allowed to exchange. When i called Amazon, i was worried that when i send the kindle back to Amazon, i might get my original kindle back as they might determined it to be a defect cause by human negligence. TO MY SURPRISE, the customer service rep told me they will send me a new Kindle, and let me see if the new Kindle have any defects, and if its to my satisfaction. If i have no problems with the new Kindle, they only require me to send back the old one, postage paid. This solves a couple of problems all at once 1) postage for sending the item back to Amazon (most companies require you to pay for the postage back to them) 2) item not being repaired at all because of human negligence. 3) When the new kindle arrive, i can just send the old kindle in the same box the new kindle came in, and use the pre paid postage label, and just send it back to Amazon. Goodness me, i have not encountered such fantastic service ever! I am an Amazon customer for life now. (I must add that if you do not stay in the USA or do not travel to the USA, it will be a challenge to send a defective kindle back to Amazon. Fortunately i would say most of the Kindles are produced defect free, BUT if you fall under this category, then either check this link or call Amazon’s international hotline – 1-206-266-2992)
Update: 21st Aug, 2011:
Vpost has announced on its website that its USA address for our shipments to be delivered to has changed. The old address will remained till 31st August. Read the notice at their website here. Pls contact them if you have send to the old address. If you have been following the instructions from the vpost website, you should be fine.
Update: 30th Sep, 2011:
Amazon has just announced “FOUR” new products adding to the Kindle Family. Actually its just ONE new product, i.e. the Kindle Fire, which is a Andriod Tablet that runs on a customized Amazon OS. From the reviews i read, its does the basic functions really well, and for those who wants an inexpensive Tablet to watch movies, read books, listen to music on, this is the device to get. Unlike many of the Andriod tablets which have received fairly poor reviews, this tablet developed by Amazon, a company known for fanatical service and fantastic products, proves to be the real competition to the Ipad. It costs just $199usd and is vailable only for pre-order. Do check it out the all new Amazon tablet here.
As for the other 3 new products, there are actually just 3 variations of the latest version of the kindle. The previous kindle was known as “Kindle 3″ , while the new kindle is just “Kindle”. The 3 variations are
3) Kindle Touch 3g (same as Kindle Touch but with 3G. Price is $149 w advertisements, and $189 without. As always, my advice is NOT to get 3G version, since wifi ones are more than sufficient. Besides a Kindle Fire cost $199, and a Kindle Touch 3G cost $189, its a no brainer right?). If you insist, you can check it out here
I found out that Amazon has a Kindle specially for international shipping and its cost the same (i.e $109). The only thing is if you buy using this, then you have to use Amazon shipping for international, which might not always be the cheapest. I do advise due diligence in checking before making your purchases.