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Amazon cuts price of Kindle to $259

Price of e-book reader lowered by $40 in the U.S. New version for global use also launched.

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LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- Amazon is cutting the price of its Kindle e-book reader in the U.S. and launching a version that can be used worldwide, the company said Wednesday.

The company lowered the U.S. price of the Kindle by $40 to $259.

It also launched a new Kindle that can be used globally. That device, which has wireless capabilities in more than 100 countries, sells for $279 and will begin shipping Oct. 19.

"Kindle is the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items we sell on Amazon, and we're excited to be able to lower the price," Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Kindle first debuted in 2007.

More than 350,000 books can now be downloaded from the U.S. Kindle store, with most titles selling for less than $10, Amazon said. Users can also read newspapers and magazines with the device.

Amazon said the new device will utilize AT&T's (T, Fortune 500) third-generation wireless network.

"We are excited to work with Amazon to help readers access books even faster and from significantly more places than ever before," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.

The move comes as Amazon, which has dominated the U.S. electronic reader market, faces increased competition from rivals Sony (SNE) and iRex, the Philips (PHG) spinoff.

The e-reader market is a growing arena for device makers. A Forrester Research analyst recently estimated that there will be upwards of 3 million e-reader devices sold by the end of this year.  To top of page

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