TORONTO – Amazon introduced its Kindle Paperwhite to the Canadian market on Wednesday, a few months after the U.S. launch of the device
But the company says it still has no news on when it might bring its tablet, the Fire, to Canada, or expand its recently announced Amazon Prime service to include the additional features offered in the U.S., including streaming of movies and TV shows and free borrowing of some ebooks.
“We’re working hard to launch the Fire across the world as fast as we can,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of Kindle products, who was in Toronto to unveil Amazon’s new products for Canadian consumers.
Along with the Paperwhite, which has an illuminated screen and will sell for $139 for a WiFi version and $199 for a 3G-WiFi model, Amazon also said the latest update of its basic e-reader will be available for $89.
In December, Amazon quietly launched a Canadian version of its Kindle ebook store, which will sell the new e-readers. They can also be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Source and Staples outlets.
“These things take more time than we all expect at the beginning,” Larsen said in reference to the Fire and why it isn’t available in Canada.
“Rather than launch a device without the full service of Kindle behind it, our philosophy is to take a little bit more time and make sure all the pieces are in place,” he added, alluding to the fact that Amazon Prime video streaming isn’t available in Canada yet.
“Our goal is to get it all to Canada.”
Larsen also commented on a frequent pet peeve of readers, lower prices south of the border.
“We hear about it from time to time … we work really hard to charge the lowest prices we can for books,” he said.
“A lot of times the publishers actually set the prices on books themselves and that’s where the pricing discrepancy between the U.S. and Canada comes into play, sometimes it’s out of our control.”