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Amazon lowers price for Kindle e-reader

July 8, 2009 |  4:54 pm

On_Book

Will a $60 price drop make more book lovers shelve their hardcovers for a digital display? Amazon hopes the answer is yes.

The Seattle-based online retail giant dropped the price today on its Kindle 2 e-reader to $299 from its recent price of $359. This new pricetag is a $100 drop from when Amazon introduced the original Kindle reader in 2007, when it gained a minor a cult following. Kindle 2, the second and current incarnation released six months ago in February, is about the width of a pencil and weighs about 10 ounces. It has enough memory to store more than 1,500 books. In addition, this version includes a somewhat controversial text-to-audio feature, plays MP3s music files and could hop onto the Internet over a 3G wireless connection, which is offered through an arrangement with Sprint.

Readers can wirelessly download books to the device and subscribe for a monthly fee to blogs, magazines and newspapers (including the Los Angeles Times) that will automatically download.

In May, Amazon unveiled the Kindle DX, a large-screen version targeting newspaper and magazine readers.

Amazon spokeswoman Cinthia Portugal told the Associated Press that the price cut, a classic electronics marketing strategy, is not simply a short-term promotion. "We've been able to increase the volume of Kindles we're manufacturing and decrease the cost of doing so," she said.

Amazon has not released figures on how many devices have sold or the revenue generated by sales of electronic books to the Kindle.

However, ThinkEquity analyst Ed Weller called the move smart business for a company that started out serving readers. "They are serving the most important component of their consumer franchise by enhancing that connection and facilitating future sales," he said.

-- Michelle Maltais

Photo credit: Amazon.com Inc.

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