ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading Lolita in Thimphu

Married to the Kindle
There's recently been an explosion of Bhutan-focused travelogues and memoirs. Or at least so it seems. Three of the newer works are currently not available for sale in Bhutan: Radio Shangri-La by Lisa Napoli, Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming, and Beneath Blossom Rain by Kevin Grange.

So what do you do if you're here in the Kingdom and desperate to get a copy? The public library would be a natural place to find such books, but as far as I know, copies are still not available for loan. Eventually a few will end up there. Another option is to find a local friend who has a copy. If that didn't work, keep on reading.

The age-old method of asking an overseas friend to send the book by mail is always a viable option. And now, thanks to the Internet and credit cards, you can also order a copy from online vendors that ship books to Bhutan. For example, the US-based company, charges $4.99 per shipment and $4.99 per book (thus, shipping one book will cost you around $10, two books $15, three $20 etc). You'll need a credit card for payment.

A quicker, cheaper and environment-friendly option is to get the electronic version of the book - the e-book - if one is available. offers both Radio Shangri-La and Married to Bhutan for the Kindle, their e-book reader. The prices are a tad cheaper than the printed book, and you don't need to pay for shipping. Also, note that you don't really need a Kindle to read the book: Amazon provides free applications to read purchased e-books on the PC, Mac and some mobile devices.

Last but not least: Some e-books are available for loaning, or rather: e-loaning. This is a new feature that Amazon introduced recently. You can read about it here. I found out that the Kindle version of "Married to Bhutan" is available for loaning. ("Radio Shangri-La" has loaning disabled). I have a copy of "Married to Bhutan", and I recently e-loaned it to a friend in Bhutan - it seemed to work smoothly. If you're interested, let me know and I'll e-loan it to you. It might take a while, though, as a book can only be e-loaned to one person at a time. An e-book can only be loaned once, and for a maximum period of 14 days.


  1. Hi, I was a volunteer in Bhutan a few years ago, and I read your blog with interest to keep up with what's happening in Thimphu.

    Just a correction on purchasing eBooks for and lending with the Kindle. If you have a US-issued credit card, the process is painless, but if you don't, most Kindle books (even the free ones) are unavailable to you due to geographically restrictions in distribution. There are workarounds (like using a VPN and gift cards) but it's still a fair bit of trouble.

    Also, a Kindle book can only be lent *once* over the entire lifetime of your ownership. Meaning, if you lend it to Friend A, you will not be able to lend it to anyone else anymore.


    - anonymuse

  2. I am still Waiting for your eloan.
    Are you using iPad for ebook reading? How you got it? How much did you pay?

  3. @Anonymous: Thanks for the clarifications. I missed the "once" in the "Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days". That's too bad, but it does make sense.

    @PaSsu: As I already loaned the book, it seems I won't be able to e-loan it again. Apologies. However, you are more than welcome to borrow my Kindle!

  4. Hi, Boaz, I enjoy your blog and look forward to meeting you in person when we get back to Thimphu. Thanks for the mention of Married to Bhutan. Can't wait for it to get to Bhutan! I have promised our daughter who goes to Lungtenzampa that she can take some copies of the book to the Thimphu library. So look for them mid-May. We have friends coming to Bhutan and they have graciously offered to bring books. The other thing is Junction books has said they will order the book. The UK version of it should be available in early July, and I think that's the one the Indian distributor will have. I will do everything possible to get as many copies there as soon as possible. What did you think of it?

  5. Hi Linda, do let me know when you're back to Thimphu.
    Great news about sending copies to JDWPL (and perhaps one to the Harmony village library?)
    I liked the many cunning observations in the book that we chilips slowly realize after living in Bhutan for some time, as well as the witty comparisons to the Western way of life. I found myself ROTFL quite often! By now I think we're ready to meet Namgay...;-)

  6. Thanks Boaz, for that rousing endorsement. It is much appreciated. As you are a long time resident of Bhutan, you can certainly relate to my social gaffs and realizations, except after having read your blog, I think you are much better positioned than I ever was! Namgay is amazing. I look forward to introducing him (and myself) to you some day in the not too distant future. Sad to say we don't have a firm date, as we have obligations here at present. Thanks for the tip about Harmony Village. I am going to press my friends to bring as many books as they can handle in May. Thanks again, and I will continue to enjoy your blog.


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