NEW YORK — Amazon.com Inc. is hoping to invigorate a nascent market for electronic books by introducing its own e-book reader with free wireless connectivity.
Monday's announcement comes as e-books remain a sliver of overall book sales, partly because they lack the comfort and intimacy of bound paper.
Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the Web retailer spent three years developing the Kindle reader, which the company is selling online for $399.
Rather than try to "outbook" the bound book, Bezos said, Amazon designed Kindle with the e-book's strengths in mind. It is thinner than most paperbacks and weighs just over 10 ounces. Yet it can hold about 200 books, along with newspapers, magazines and an entire dictionary.
Readers can buy and download books directly to the Kindle -- without a PC -- through Sprint Nextel Corp.'s high-speed EV-DO cellular network without fees or contract commitments. They also can take notes on what they read and store them on Amazon's computer servers.