Avid readers in Thailand have been screwed for years. Thai bookstores have a limited selection and prices are typically 100% more than prices from online booksellers in the U.S.
There are a few used bookstores on The Reservation (www.dasabookcafe.com) but selection is limited.
Until recently, there was no real solution except hauling a pile of books through customs and for bona fide bookworms hauling sufficient reading material for extended stays was impossible.
Like all things Thai, some rich connected family has control of the publishing business and uses government regulation to keep out competitors. Like all monopolies, prices are raised and selection is restricted. That is the way the Thai elites have gotten rich and stay rich and I am certain it happens in the book business just like it does in the automobile, music, banking, etc. businesses in Thailand.
Recent price drops in E-book readers are a game changer — allowing the educated Thai consumer to circumvent market restrictions and access more books cheaper and more efficiently (and also beat Thai censorship laws).
An Amazon Kindle 6 inch reader is only $114 when purchased in the U.S.
This is about 1/5th the price of an Ipad and makes it affordable for the Expat on a budget.
A crippled Thai version of the Kindle is available for Thailand delivery but it costs $209 after adding shipping and import dues.
The crippled Thai version restricts you to only books where licensing agreements have been struck for Thailand (read the connected Thais who control the publishing business get paid) so not all titles are available with the crippled Thai version and the titles cost significantly more.
The crippled Thai version also prevents download of censored books and newspapers.
Avoid the crippled Thai version.
Have someone in the U.S. buy your Kindle and bring it through customs for you.
You’ll not only save money on the purchase by avoiding custom duties but you will also get access to the full Amazon book offerings.
You’ll be able to buy banned books, pay way less for books, and impoverish the predatory Thai elites.
Register it with a U.S. address and it will function in Thailand as if it were in the U.S.
If you have a problem downloading over the wireless network go to the “manage your Kindle” page on your Amazon account and use the “transfer via computer” option while your Kindle is attached to your computer via USB.
This does an end run around the import barriers, content restrictions, and tariffs and allows you to pay U.S. prices and access the full Amazon book offerings.
With a fully functional Kindle you can have the full library of books available.