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Home » Business » IT set to unveil a longer and thinner new Kindle

AMAZON.COM Inc is holding a press conference at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York today, fueling speculation that the company will release a new version of the Kindle, its electronic-book reader. hasn't given a topic for the event, hosted by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos. Still, blogs and analysts say the timing is right for a new Kindle. The current model sold out before the holidays ?? the second year in a row that demand eclipsed supply, Bloomberg News said.

"It almost seems self-evident they're going to release the Kindle," said Jim Friedland, an analyst at Cowen & Co in New York. "It makes sense. The Kindle has been out of stock on Amazon since late November."

An Oprah Winfrey endorsement in October fueled pre-holiday sales of the device, which debuted in 2007. Seattle-based, the world's biggest Internet retailer, has been secretive about sales of the Kindle, saying only that consumer demand has surpassed expectations.

The paperback-sized gadget, which sells for US$359, lets users download books and newspapers onto a high-resolution screen with a white background and black text ?? imitating the look of a real book. will make about US$1.2 billion in sales from the Kindle by next year, according to Mark Mahaney, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. That's about 4 percent of's total revenue.

Collins Stewart LLC analyst Sandeep Aggarwal said the company will generate US$1.4 billion from Kindle sales and book downloads by 2010.

The new Kindle is likely to be longer and thinner, with buttons that make accidental page turns less likely, Mahaney said. Users can now download most best-sellers on the Kindle for US$9.99.

The Boy Genius Report, a technology blog, posted pictures in October of what it claimed to be the Kindle 2. The device had rounded edges and a joystick instead of a scrolling wheel. has risen 30 percent this year in Nasdaq trading, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index has fallen 3.8 percent.

The Kindle could become the industry norm for digital books as sales of the device surge, Aggarwal said.

Sony Corp also offers an electronic reader, which sells for US$299. It hasn't seriously threatened's Kindle sales, Friedland said.

Google Inc is also emerging as a competitor.

It said last week that more than 1.5 million books from Google Book Search are now available on mobile phones.



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