At a New York press conference on Wednesday, the Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed that the much anticipated device would be under half the price of its market-leading rival, Apple's iPad, at $199.
Bezos also unveiled a touchscreen Kindle Touch device at $99, and a lighter version of the standard Kindle, with Wi-Fi access, with a price reduced to $79.
This new generation Kindle will be on sale in the UK from 12 October costing £89 (the higher price for the UK version reflects that fact that it is ad-free while the US version is supported by adverts). UK launch dates for Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch have yet to be confirmed.
Publishers reacted with excitement over the arrival of the devices ahead of Christmas, which last year saw a huge boost to ebook sales as e-readers proved a hit as gifts.
Random House UK's digital editor, Dan Franklin, said the low prices would "open up a whole new marketplace of impulse buyers", while Michael Bhaskar of Profile Books said Amazon had "opened the tablet race wide open in a stroke" by its gift market pricing. Bhaskar predicted "hundreds of thousands, at least" of the Kindle Fire devices would be sold in the UK before Christmas, if it launches here.
Meanwhile Bloomsbury's digital media director, Stephanie Duncan, foresaw the Kindle Fire prompting a big leap in e-books for illustrated titles such as cookery books and children's picture books.
"Anything that makes the experience of reading digitally better is welcomed by publishers," she said.
Full story at The Guardian.