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Amazon Drops Kindle Pricing Again

Changes to the Kindle e-reader line come as rivals Barnes & Noble, Sony, Plastic Logic, and Asus take aim at the electronic book reader market.

Amazon has lowered the price of its latest Kindle e-book reader, days after rival Barnes & Noble upped the competition by introducing the Nook.

Amazon's move, announced Thursday, simplifies pricing for the market-leading Kindle and tightens the line of e-book readers. From three e-reader models, Amazon has reduced the number to two: one with a wireless connection that can roam internationally and the larger Kindle DX. Both models ship with a wireless connection for accessing Amazon's e-book store at no charge.

Gone is the basic U.S.-only version of the Kindle. In dropping the model, Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle with international roaming, introduced this month, from $279 to $259, which is the same price B&N is asking for the Nook. B&N is taking pre-orders for the device, which is scheduled to start shipping at the end of November.

B&N's Nook is expected to be a strong competitor. The device offers more features than the Kindle, such as the ability to lend e-books to others for up to 14 days. In addition, B&N's online store will offer more than 1 million e-books by the time the Nook ships, versus Amazon's more than 350,000. In addition, the Nook will have access to a half-million non-copyrighted books available through libraries on Google Books.

The Kindle has become Amazon's bestselling item in unit and dollar sales across all the retailer's product categories, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said in releasing the company's third-quarter financial results Thursday.

Amazon's net income rose by 68% in the quarter ended Sept. 30 to $199 million, or 45 cents a share, from $118 million, or 27 cents a share, the same period a year ago. Revenue increased 28% to $5.45 billion from $4.26 billion a year ago, beating the average Wall Street analyst estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters. On Friday, Amazon's stock surged more than 25% to a record high of $117.40

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