Amazon has quietly dropped the price of the Kindle international edition by $20 to bring it in line with the original Kindle price in the US.

UK customers wanting to sign up for the ebook reader that was announced just weeks ago, and only just available this week, will now only have to pay $259 instead of the launch price of $279.

Amazon hasn't stated a reason for the drop in price, however the price drop could be down to the ebook market heating up in the run up to Christmas.

On Tuesday Barnes & Noble, Amazon's biggest competitor in the book selling market, launched the Nook, an ebook reader with a colour android-powered touch screen for navigation.

Amazon has confirmed that users who paid $279 will get a $20 refund.

"Due to strong customer demand for the new Kindle with U.S. & International Wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6-inch Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of our Kindle with US & International wireless down to $259. The new Kindle with 3G wireless that works in the U.S. and globally in over 100 countries is in-stock and available for immediate shipment. Customers who purchased the device at $279 will be automatically refunded the $20 difference in price. They don't need to do anything to receive this refund, it's automatic and they will receive an email from us confirming the refund". Amazon told Pocket-lint when asked.

The news comes as Amazon launches a free application that lets readers around the world enjoy Kindle books on their personal computers called Kindle for PC.