updated 01:35 am EDT, Wed October 7, 2009
US users to see other service charges when roaming
Amazon on Tuesday evening dropped the price of its Kindle 2 reading device by $40, bringing it down to $259, while offering a new Kindle with global wireless access for a $20 premium. Amazon says the combo US/International version uses GSM technology for coverage in over 100 countries, but that US customers traveling abroad will be charged an additional $1.99 fee for wirelessly downloading books or single issues of periodicals from "your Archived Items or the Kindle store while roaming internationally." A $4.99 fee applies for newspaper, magazine, and blog subscription content, while the company will charge $0.99 per megabyte (MB) for transferred personal documents.
As usual, customers can avoid these fees if they download books, periodicals, and personal documents via their computer and transfer them to the Kindle using USB.
The company's popular e-book reader with US wireless is available immediately, while the version with both US and international wireless -- available for pre-order today -- is expected to ship on October 19 for $279.
The second price drop in about three months -- the first was in early July -- comes as competitors enter the increasingly crowded e-book market, including the recent introduction of Sony's PRS-600 Touch eReader (and its forthcoming Daily Edition Reader with 3G) along with other more affordable (but simpler) devices from companies such as iRiver, iRex and Samsung.
In addition to promises by electronics companies to cut the price of the devices in half, other larger players such as Time, Inc. and Apple are also rumored to be entering the e-book market with their own devices.