Online retailer Amazon.com said on Monday it will begin selling an electronic book reader with wireless access, the latest attempt to build consumer interest in portable reading devices.
The battery-operated Amazon Kindle will sell for $399 and let users download books, newspapers and blogs over a wireless connection. It can carry about 200 books downloaded from Amazon.com at about $10 for new releases.
Wireless functionalities, based on cell phone broadband technology EVDO, are built into the 10-ounce, thin white device. Downloading content does not require a computer and takes less than a minute for a full-length book, the company said.
The question is can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And if so, how?, Amazon.com Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said at a press conference in New York. It has to disappear.
Like a book, the device's screen is not back-lit and uses electronic ink to mimic paper. An e-book reader offered by Sony Corp employs similar technology, but does not include wireless access.
The service will also offer subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and blogs for a monthly fee. Subscriptions to newspapers such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal range from $5.99 to $14.99. Magazine subscriptions range from $1.25 to $3.49 per month.
Amazon will also offer subscriptions to blogs that cost about 99 cents.
Amazon shares rose 35 cents to $78.95 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Kenneth Li; Editing by Brian Moss)