Live abroad and buying Japanese books a costly and inconvenient task? Follow this guide to download Japanese books easily to read on your Kindle or Kindle Ap and avoid pricey import shops. Luckily Amazon JP has a few loopholes to let those outside Japan do this. In addition to that, you can link your foreign account to enable both countries’ purchases on the same Kindle (Warning: read my post about the positives and negatives of linking accounts HERE before trying this.)
What you’ll need:
- Any Kindle Paperwhite, iPad, iPhone or Android Device.
- A credit card
- A Japanese Mail Address (fake or real does not matter)
Now you may be asking me, “how does a fake address work for me?” Well, in two ways:
- Foreign cards aren’t checked against their address in Japan. Only expiration date is run through processing systems. Vice versa however does not work as Japanese credit card companies are more stringent due to complaints in the past from Japanese who have traveled abroad and been defrauded.
- Amazon allows foreign credit cards to be used. I have both a Japanese and US credit card I use regularly depending on the exchange rate. Amazon JP lets me register my US card and purchase freely.
Click here to start by switching the language to English. Then, create an account on Amazon.co.jp.
Register your account by clicking here. Where it says ‘Name Pronunciation’ just enter the same name again.
Login to this Amazon JP account via your Kindle iOS/Android app, or Kindle Paperwhite. This registers it to your account. If you’ve already registered your kindle, you’ll need to switch accounts by logging into your US Amazon account, click here to open ‘Manage Your Content and Devices’ , click the ‘Settings’ tab and select Japan as your ‘Country of Residence’.
Test your device with a free book. 学問のおすすめ is free. Send it to the device you registered by logging in (Step 3) and try it out.
Find a book to buy. If you don’t have one in mind I recommend a very quick and easy book called 気まぐれロボット by 星新一. It’s fun book and should provide you with a great entry into reading non-Manga.
The registration part. Ok, here’s the part where you may have to fib a bit if you don’t live in Japan. You pick your address, any address will do and use it for both the billing AND shipping address. I tested this by using the address of the school I went to in Osaka for my exchange program. It worked. No physical product is shipped there so you don’t have to worry about them finding out.
Now payment. Non-Japanese credit cards are accepted. Enter your info and it should work even without a correct billing address. If it doesn’t, make sure to input at the very least your correct name and phone number, sometimes zipcode for certain cards. Certain US credit card companies require verification against zipcode.
That’s it! You should be able to order and read Japanese books on your Kindle app or Paperwhite.
Disclaimer: I’m not responsible if Amazon finds this out and deletes your account, if a giant bear claws you to death or any other action or effect resulting from you reading this post.
Please do let me know if this works for you in the comments! I’ve tested it using a US proxy and US credit card, on the Kindle app for iOS (also using a proxy for testing purposes). It worked and should in theory work for anyone else.
Got questions? Didn’t work? Set something on fire? Comment below and I or someone else may be able to help you.
UPDATE 02/15/2017: Free Japanese Mailing Address
OPAS is a mail and package forwarding service that will give you both a US and Japanese shipping address for FREE. Well, it’s not normally free. But you can sign up through me with a friend invite. That gives you a free signup (you save $25). OPAS is great because you pay ONLY when you want to ship a package. Great, right?
UPDATE 10/14/2014 : Many are reporting a VPN is necessary to purchase books. I’ve used PureVPN without a problem and recommend them for their easy to use mobile apps. Click here to browse Amazon like you’re in Japan.