Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, $89 Kindle launch in Canada

Kindle Paperwhite (Handout)In December, Kindle quietly unveiled its Kindle bookstore on Amazon.ca. Now, it looks like they’re going to be making two ereaders available to read those books on available here, too.

Amazon announced today that it will be launching the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (both Wi-Fi and 3G models) in Canada, and will be selling them through Amazon.ca along with the $89 Kindle.

Prior to today, Canadians could only purchase the $89 Kindle from the U.S. Kindle store, which meant paying in U.S. dollars and having a longer shipping time as it crossed the border. Amazon.com also did not ship the Paperwhite to Canada, which makes this the first time it’s been officially available in the country.

[ Related: Amazon Prime comes to Canada, but without the bells and whistles ]

Peter Larsen, vice president for Amazon Kindle, says he’s excited to be making both devices readily available to Canadians.

“We hope this is going to be the best reading experience that Canadian customers have available to them,” Larsen told Yahoo! Canada in a phone interview.

In addition to being sold on Amazon.ca, the Paperwhite and $89 Kindle will both be available nationwide at The Source, Staples and Shoppers Drug Mart.

The Kindle Paperwhite was announced back in September of last year, slated for release in the U.S. with availability in some parts of Europe coming shortly after. At the time, there was no mention of bringing the device to Canada.

Compared to the previous generation of Kindle, the Paperwhite has a higher resolution (with 62% more pixels) and significantly higher contrast. It also includes a backlit display that can be dimmed and a battery that can last up to eight weeks with the light turned up full.

The Kindle Paperwhite Wi-Fi will retail for $139, and the 3G model will retail for $199. Amazon says that those who buy the 3G model won’t have to pay for access to the 3G network, either, as it includes free 3G access.

[ Related: Kindle Fire’s Canadian debut not looking likely anytime soon ]

Larsen says that Canadian readers will also enjoy the smaller Kindle for $89, which still provides full access to all 1.5 million titles in the Kindle Canada library (including 50,000 French titles) but at a lower price point. He suggests that the device would be a good way for someone unsure about purchasing an ereader.

“It’s such a nice, small, slim device, I frequently have mine in the back pocket of my jeans,” Larsen said. “It’s so small and easy to use, customers are really loving it.”

When asked what Amazon’s plans were for bringing Amazon’s tablet, the Kindle Fire HD north of the border, too, Larsen said that Amazon is working hard to bring it to countries outside of the U.S., but he had nothing to announce at this time about the Fire. Likewise, Amazon is working to bring services like the Kindle Newstand and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to Canada, but there isn’t a timeline or finite plans at this time for Amazon to roll out them out here.

There is one caveat for potential Canadian Kindle owners: if you’re looking to borrow books from the library, Canadian libraries currently don’t support the Kindle format via OverDrive (the system libraries are currently using). Hopefully, the arrival of the Paperwhite and the basic Kindle on Amazon’s Canadian website will prompt that to soon change.

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