Online retail giant Amazon announced during its third quarter earnings call that it is dropping the price of its heavily promoted e-reader, the Kindle. The company said they started shipping Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless and lowered its price to $259 from $279. The newest Kindle is available to ship to customers living outside the U.S. Customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Amazon currently sells one other Kindle model, the widescreen DX, which lists for $489.
The price drop comes as competitor Barnes & Noble announces their e-reading device, the Nook, which is due out at the end of November for $259. Like the Kindle, the Nook offers readers Wi-Fi access to one million ebooks, newspapers and magazines, and Wi-Fi also enables free in-store browsing of complete ebooks. The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 360,000 books, more than 7,000 blogs, and more than 90 U.S. and international newspapers and magazines, as well as 60,000 audiobooks that can be downloaded and listened to on the Kindle.
Amazon also announced “Kindle for PC,” the free application for reading Kindle books on the PC. Kindle for PC features Amazon’s Whispersync technology, which automatically saves and synchronizes customers’ bookmarks and last page read across devices, including the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, and PC. “Kindle has become the number one bestselling item by both unit sales and dollars – not just in our electronics store but across all product categories on Amazon.com,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. “It’s also the most wished for and the most gifted. We are grateful for and energized by this customer response.”
As competitors like the Nook threaten Amazon’s grip on a still nascent industry, Amazon used the launch of the Kindle for PC application to share in the anticipation and attention built around the launch of Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft demonstrated Kindle for PC for the first time ever at the Windows 7 launch event in New York City.
“Customers have told us that they want access to a wider variety of content and an increasingly diverse set of form factors,” said Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows Platform Strategy, Mike Nash. “With the announcement of Kindle for PC, Amazon is making its massive selection of Kindle books available on the world’s most widely used platform. The new Kindle for PC’s use of Windows 7 features such as Jump Lists and Windows Touch demonstrates how Windows 7 makes new things possible.”