Amazon has added to its Kindle family, developing a new version that is smaller, lighter, and faster than the current device. While the updated 3G wireless edition will continue to sell for $189, Amazon has added a Wi-Fi only unit that it will sell for $139. Both units will be available Aug. 27, and can now be pre-ordered here.
In addition to offering the new devices in the U.S. both will be sold in the U.K. through the Amazon.co.uk, the first time the company has offered the device through its U.K. site. To accompany the U.K. rollout, Amazon will launch the U.K. Kindle store that will include over 400,000 U.K. e-books.
Despite competition form the iPad and other multi-functional devices, Amazon remains convinced there is a place for dedicated e-readers. “The market is even bigger than we thought,” said Russ Grandinetti, v-p of Kindle content about the size of the e-reader audience. He reiterated statements made by Amazon last week that since the company lowered the price of the Kindle to $189 sales have accelerated.
Grandinetti said the changes incorporated into the new Kindle—improved screen contrast, a 21% reduction in body size while keeping the six-inch screen, lighter weight (8.7 ounces) and faster page turns—were made in the features that matter most to consumers. Those changes coupled with the low price “should give another push to consumers looking to move from print to digital.” Grandinetti said.
He said improvements to the Kindle will help books compete with other digital activities. “Our goal is to get people to read more often,” Grandinetti said. Amazon’s statistic, Grandinetti said, show that customers who purchase a Kindle buy 3.3 times as many books of all kinds after purchasing the device compared to before the purchase. Grandinetti said he believes very soon there will be a growing number “of multiple Kindle homes.” Grandinetti also predicted that with e-book sales already surpassing hardcover at Amazon, the format will pass paperback at some point relatively soon.