by Shona Ghosh, PC PRO
Amazon’s failure to support Welsh on the Kindle has sparked a row over the firm’s language restrictions.
Up until recently, Y Lolfa was able to list its Welsh books as English, but Amazon has now withdrawn this facility.
“Last year we published Welsh language books on the Kindle but we listed them as English books because Welsh wasn’t a supported language,” Y Lolfa managing director Garmon Gruffudd told Wales Online. “However this year they have refused to put them up through this route because they say that they are in an unrecognised language.”
Amazon claimed that it is unable to support certain character-based languages such as Russian. But Gruffudd points out that Welsh is based on the same alphabet as English, meaning there is no technical reason Amazon can’t support the language.
Y Lolfa’s petition follows a successful appeal from UK publisher Diglot to get its Cornish children’s book on the Kindle. Although Amazon backed down and listed the book, it still does not rank Cornish as an officially supported language, suggesting this may be a one-off.
Amazon supports only ten languages on the Kindle, including Japanese, Catalan, Galician and Basque, as well as the major European languages.
A spokesperson for Amazon told PC Pro that the company was working on adding more languages to Kindle and hoped this would include Welsh in future.
According to the 2011 census, there are 562,000 Welsh speakers in Wales. By comparison, only 500 listed Cornish as their primary language. According to the Institute of Catalan Studies, there are ten million Catalan speakers, though only 4.4 million classify it as their primary language. There are an estimated one million Basque speakers, though the majority also speak French or Spanish, and three million Galician speakers speakers in northern Spain.