Amazon is to make Kindle available in Australia following a US-only availability for the e-book reader since its launch in 2007. It is believed that with Christmas approaching and the growing market competition with Sony and Apple working on their own e-readers prompted the move.
More than 85 US and international newspapers and magazines will be available in the Kindle Store for single purchase or subscription when Kindle hits Australia this month.
The device, which enables users to wirelessly download via 3G, books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents and view them on a 6-inch electronic ink display, will be available from 19 October for US$279.
Amazon's Kindle Store will also extend the offer to international customers from more than 100 countries with over 200,000 English-language books.
Consumers will now be able to purchase the product via the company's US website for US$279, with shipping placing the total at around US$317.
Key features include: 3G wireless connectivity, USB connectivity, 2GB of memory for storage of up to 1,500 Books, automatic back up of books to Amazon, battery life of two weeks with wireless turned off and up to four days on a single charge with wireless on.
Kindles' "Read-To-Me" features text-to-speech allowing the device to read most newspapers, magazines and books out loud. Adjustable text size, instant dictionary lookup and the ability to add annotations to text, highlight and clip key passages and bookmark pages for future use.
Meanwhile US bookseller Barnes & Noble plans to announce its own brand of digital book reader and could start selling it as soon as next month setting the stage for a showdown with Amazon.com and Sony in the burgeoning market for electronic reading devices.
Barnes & Noble already sell e-books to be read on apps for Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's Blackberry handsets. In recent months, Barnes & Noble has also announced partnerships with e-reader makers Plastic Logic and Irex, which will use the retailer's virtual bookstore to provide e-books to their customers.
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