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E-books morph into video-based entertainment as popular e-reading app gets an update

Hot on the heels of Apple's iBooks app release, Amazon is hitting back with a new version of its popular e-reading apps, Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch and Kindle for iPad. The update enables readers to watch and listen to embedded video and audio clips within e-books.

"Readers will already find some Kindle Editions with audio/video clips in the Kindle Store today-from Rose's Heavenly Cakes with video tips on preparing the perfect cake to Bird Songs with audio clips that relate the songs and calls to the birds' appearances. This is just the beginning-we look forward to seeing what authors and publishers create for Kindle customers using the new functionality of the Kindle apps," said Dorothy Nicholls, director, Amazon Kindle in a June 27 press release.

In addition to the video and audio inclusion, the Kindle for iPhone app has been optimized for the iPhone 4's new retina display with crisper, clearer text.

In-book audio and video features are not available on Amazon's black-and-white Kindle e-reading device.

The announcement follows Amazon's move to slash prices on its Kindle e-reader last week. Amazon is feeling increased pressure to compete in the e-reading segment as consumers are lured away from "one-function" reading devices towards feature-rich, multipurpose tablets.