The Kindle Fire tablet and Kindle Fire HD are available to order through Waterstones, the chain bookseller has announced this morning, as the US retailer unveiled its new tablet models and a new Kindle, the Paperwhite, at its US press conference yesterday (6th September).
Following on from the launch of its European App Store last week, Amazon will sell an improved version of the Kindle Fire for £129, Kindle Fire HD 7in 16GB for £159 and Kindle Fire HD 7in 32GB for £199 in the UK from 25th October. It will be the first time a tablet from the company will be available to buy in the UK, after going on sale in America last year, where the company said it captured 22% of the US tablet market.
The launch of Amazon’s tablets in the UK is in direct competition with other tablets on the market, and is competitive on price. Apple’s iPad sells for £325. In July, Google released its Nexus 7 tablet for £159 (8GB) and £199 (16GB) and yesterday, Kobo also announced a new tablet in HD, the Kobo Arc, which will sell for £159.99 for the 8G version and £189.99 for the 16GB version.
Amazon will beat Kobo to its tablet-entry onto the market, with the Kindle Fire family available from 25th October and the Kobo Arc available in November. Barnes & Noble is also expected to release a tablet onto the UK market just before Christmas, most likely also in November.
At the press conference in California yesterday Amazon revealed its new Kindle Fire HD tablets, which have stereo speakers, an HDMI port—making it easy to connect to a television–and a laminated touchscreen. They will show adverts on their screens when displays are in lock mode.
The HD tablets will also feature wi-fi antennas and Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) radio wave technology, with the bigger model available in 4G connectivity.
Amazon also announced a fifth generation Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, at its US conference last night, which has 62% more pixels and 25% increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions and up to 8 weeks of battery life, which will sell for $119 (£74.50).
In terms of new Amazon Publishing initiatives, as The Bookseller reported yesterday, the retailer will launch Kindle Serials on the back of its Kindle Singles venture in the US. The company revealed at its US press conference last night that Kindle Serials are stories published in episodes, when customers buy a Kindle Serial they will receive all existing episodes, followed later by future episodes when they are published. The first eight Kindle Serials were available in the US today for $1.99 (£1.25).
Audible, the audio books subsidiary of Amazon, also announced that Whispersync for Voice, allowing customers to “switch seamlessly” between reading a book and listening to an audio book, and Immersion Reading, allowing customers to synchronise text with audio, would be available for the Kindle Fire and Fire HD models in the US.
Customers can order the Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD devices from Waterstones from today, the bookseller said.
James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones said: “The availability of Kindle at Waterstones means that our customers can now enjoy the pleasures of both physical books and e-books in-store. We are investing heavily in our shops with an emphasis on creating beautiful bookshops with a better range of books than ever.”
He added: “I can’t think of a better place to buy a book, whatever the format.”
Waterstones added that customers would “benefit from the ability to speak to staff who understand the technology and have a passion for books” when buying their Kindle, as the company refits and improves shops with dedicated digital areas, free wi-fi and coffee shops.
Amazon has also revealed it will create 2,000 jobs by opening three new distribution centres in the UK with nearly 3,000 temporary workers taken on over the Christmas period. The news was announced as Amazon opened a new site at Hemel Hempstead, creating 600 permanent jobs.
Amazon managing director Christopher North said: "We have created thousands of jobs in the UK over the last few years and are delighted to announce that we plan to create thousands more in the next 24 months."
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This is great news, not only for those individuals who will find work, but for the UK economy. This shows that the UK has the infrastructure and talent to continue to attract major investments from leading companies such as Amazon."