While I was working on the review for my Kindle loaner unit, I happened to check the language option menu and I noticed a couple surprise addition. As everyone knows, the Kindles support languages of each of Amazon's local Kindle Stores: German, Italian, Japanese, etc.
The new $79 Kindle supports all of those languages, and it also has a couple quiet additions. I reported yesterday that it supported Dutch, and today I can reveal that my Kindle also offers a localized Russian language menu option. I can't speak as to the accuracy of the translation, but I do see the option in the settings menu.
Given that Amazon has had a team in Russia since April 2013, it should come as no surprise that they're interested in that market, but I was somewhat surprised to see the new language option.
The thing is, Russian is not yet supported in the Kindle Store. This means that Amazon now has an ereader with menus in a language in which Amazon does not sell ebooks. I happen to find that a little odd.
Of course, that oddness is only temporary; I fully expect Amazon to launch a Kindle Store in Russia by the end of the year. I am basing that guess on the recent Google Play Books expansion, and the rule of thumb that where one international bookstore launches, another will shortly follow.
If you have ebooks in KDP, please do me the favor of keeping an eye out for signs of a new local Kindle Store. There have been times where the interface is partially updated with references to a new Kindle Store or program (this is how I broke the news that Kindle Unlimited was in the works).
When Amazon does launch in Russia, it will face a couple well established and well financed players, LitRes and Bookmate. As I reported back in May, one is an ebook/audiobook retailer, while the other is a social ebook subscription service. They've picked up financing from two of the major online retailers in Russia, and secured contracts with publishers.
They have the lead on Amazon, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how much of a lead they keep after the Russian Kindle Store launches. If they are nimble and good then it's possible they could stay ahead of Amazon,