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July 29, 2010

Amazon Kindle revamped e-reader now available in the UK

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by Darren Allan

Amazon is preparing a big push for its e-reading hardware in the UK, making the new version of the Kindle available directly to Brits from Amazon.co.uk.

Amazon has redesigned the Kindle to make it sleeker, with a 20% smaller body, and the slimmer frame means that it’s 15% lighter (weighing 250 grams).

The 6 inch E-ink screen is a new high contrast affair, which Amazon claims offers 50% better contrast than any other e-reader. It’s also anti-glare, and offers crisper fonts.

The latest generation Kindle will come in two flavours on the Amazon UK site. You can get the wi-fi only version for £109, or the 3G version (which allows you to download books anywhere, in theory) for £149.

An “experimental” WebKit based browser also comes with the device to enable surfing, although it’s said to be a bit of a clumsy affair. Still, it’s better than nothing.

Amazon is also unveiling a new UK Kindle store, with 400,000 plus books, and competitive pricing, the company promises.

This push of its e-reading range comes in the face of the iPad launch, which has sold 3 million plus units since it was brought out in April.

However, Amazon insists that the Kindle isn’t suffering due to the iPad‘s success. The company recently claimed the e-book market is simply booming, with e-books outselling hardbacks by almost 50% on Amazon (that’s hardbacks, not paperbacks, mind).

In a similar vein, Sony (who also produce an e-reading device) recently claimed that e-books would overtake traditional publishing by 2015.

The next generation Kindle will be launched on August 27th on the UK Amazon site, with pre-ordering available now. With the price of the Kindle brought down, and British buyers no longer having to pay shipping costs from the States, this move certainly won’t hurt the future of e-publishing in this country.

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