Amazon launches UK-compatible Kindle for $279

LONDON - Amazon has unveiled an international version of its Kindle electronic reader available exclusively from its US store, which works in the UK and more than 100 other countries.

The online retailer will begin shipping the Kindle on October 19. The cost to a UK buyer is around £175 for the device but this rises to nearly £200 with shipping and import duties.

Available in the US since 2007, the Kindle downloads books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents that users can read on an six-inch electronic ink display screen.

The device features 3G wireless technology and 2GB of memory, allowing it to hold up to 1,500 e-books.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO, said: "We have millions of customers in countries all over the world who read English-language books. 

"Kindle enables these customers to think of a book and download it wirelessly in less than 60 seconds."

International users will be able to access over 200,000 English-language books from the Kindle Store.

Over 1,000 different rights-holders now have books available in the electronic shop, including publishers Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Faber and Faber, Hachette, Harlequin, HarperCollins, Lonely Planet, Penguin, and Profile Books. 

John Makinson, CEO of Penguin, said: "Penguin is a leading supplier of digital books to Kindle in the US and we are delighted to be extending that successful partnership to the rest of the world.

"The publishing industry is experiencing explosive growth in digital book sales in the US and we hope to stimulate digital buying elsewhere by making our content widely available on new devices."

Over 85 US and international newspapers and magazines are also available in the Kindle Store for single purchase or subscription. 

Many international newspapers are available in the Kindle Store for the first time, including several from the UK -- The Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail -- although not The Guardian.

The FT and The Independent were already offering subscriptions to their newspapers on Kindle in the US.

Kindle's main competitor is the Sony e-reader, which launched in the UK last October, although it is yet to offer newspapers and magazines.

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