Amazon Upgrades Kindle E-Reader, Adds New Services

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) updated its Kindle Paperwhite, adding a sharper screen, faster processor and new features for the handheld e-reader used to deliver digital content.

The online retailer also introduced a new service giving customers the option to buy discounted Kindle editions of printed books already purchased from Amazon, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today.

Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is investing in its line of e-readers even as researchers predict declining sales of the devices in coming years. E-reader shipments are projected to fall to 7.1 million units in 2016, a decline of more than two-thirds from a peak volume in 2011, according to IHS Inc. (IHS)

“If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus’ from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase -- 18 years later -- to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle content, said in the statement.

Prices for the digital editions of already purchased books will range from free to $2.99, less than the $9.99 price of many e-books sold via Amazon’s online store, the company said. More than 10,000 books will be available when the program, called Kindle MatchBook, starts in October.

For the e-reader, Amazon said the new Kindle model is 25 percent faster, letting users to open books and turn pages more quickly. It features a high-contrast screen that’s indistinguishable from physical books, the company said.

The Kindle Paperwhite, which goes on sales later this month, sells for $119 to $189, and was first introduced in September of last year. The device has an 8-week battery life and a front-lit screen, which lets readers scan books in the dark. Amazon is also integrating Goodreads, the reading social network it purchased earlier this year, into Kindle e-reading software.

Amazon advanced 2.8 percent to $288.80 at the close in New York, leaving the shares up 15 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net

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