kindleAmazon.com is hoping to stoke demand for eBooks by shaving $40 off the price of its Amazon Kindle, the top-selling electronic book reader. The company is also starting to sell the Kindle in more than 100 markets worldwide.

The Kindle will now sell for $259, down from its previous price of $299. In overseas markets, it will sell for $279 and begin shipping on Oct. 19. Prior to today, the Kindle was available only in the U.S.

The Kindle uses a six-inch electronic ink display that presents pages as if you were reading real paper. Kindle customers can wirelessly download books, magazines, newspapers, and personal documents. It uses 3G wireless networking, which allows users to download books in less than 60 seconds. It can store about 1,500 books. The Kindle Store now has more than 200,000 English-language books. There are more than 1,000 publishers and rights holders who have books in the Kindle Store.

John Makinson, chief executive of Penguin, the largest English language book publisher, said that the publishing industry is seeing explosive growth in digital book sales in the U.S.