Amazon.com is launching an updated version of its high-end Kindle electronic reader and cutting the price in a move to address the threat from Apple’s iPad tablet computer, Reuters reports. Amazon’s new Kindle DX, which sports a higher-quality 9.7-inch screen, will sell for $379, down from $489, and will have free 3G wireless connection with no monthly bills or annual contracts, the company said. It was the second price cut for Amazon in as many weeks. Responding to the threat from the iPad, Amazon cut the price of its Kindle with a 6-inch screen to $189, hours after book-selling rival Barnes & Noble lowered the price on its Nook to $199. Both had cost $259. At stake is market share for eBooks, the fastest-growing segment in a moribund book-selling industry. In addition to the iPad, the Nook and Kindle also compete with Sony’s Reader device. Industry experts and rivals say the field will get even busier, with more eReaders expected this year. Apple’s iPad, launched in April at a starting price of $499, can function as an eReader device, but unlike competing models, it has a color screen and can be used as a full computer. It sold more than 2 million units in its first 60 days, and its own e-bookstore has quickly won market share, putting pressure on rival readers…

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staff and wire services reports