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Amazon Launches Sleeker Kindle

Amazon says it will start shipping its new, lighter version of the Kindle e-reader to customers on Aug. 27. Courtesy of Amazon hide caption

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Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon says it will start shipping its new, lighter version of the Kindle e-reader to customers on Aug. 27.

Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon is about to release a new version of its Kindle e-book reader that is smaller, sleeker and, the company says, has better contrast on its pages.

Ian Freed, a vice president at Amazon, says the new Kindle, which will become available at the end of August, fits in a coat pocket or a relatively small purse.

"It's actually about 20 percent smaller with the same 6-inch screen. It's about 15 percent lighter," Freed said. "We've also added Wi-Fi to our higher-end version, and it still comes out at the same $189 price."

Electronic books have become extremely popular. Although the Kindle reader has been on the market fewer than three years, Amazon already sells more e-books than hardcover versions.

The company is also introducing a Wi-Fi-only version — with no 3G wireless connection — that will cost $139.

Amazon faces competition in the device market from Sony, Barnes and Noble and Apple's iPad.