Battling Kobo, Amazon launches Kindle e-readers and store in Canada

Toronto-based Kobo is Canada’s leading e-reading company, but Amazon hopes that won’t be the case for long as it ramps up its Canadian presence. Canadians have long been able to buy the most basic Kindle from across the border, but Amazon (s AMZN) announced Wednesday that it is releasing the Kindle Paperwhite in the country for the first time and will also sell the basic Kindle there, allowing Canadian shoppers to avoid international shipping fees and delays. Amazon also launched a Canadian Kindle store for ebooks in December.

The Kindles are for sale at and at about 1,000 Canadian retailers, including Staples, The Source and Shoppers Drug Mart. The bare-bones Kindle is CDN $89 (USD $89.12). The Kindle Paperwhite is CDN $139 (USD $139.19) for WiFi only or CDN $199 (USD $199.28) with 3G. Cheaper ad-supported models aren’t available.

The Kindle Fire still doesn’t ship to Canada, though it’s available in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Booknet Canada reported last year that Kobo has about 27 percent of the Canadian ebook market, followed by Kindle at 19 percent and iPad (s AAPL) at 14 percent. Peter Larsen, VP Kindle, told Huffington Post Canada, “In every country where we’ve launched the Kindle e-reading ecosystem, it’s very quickly become the best-selling device in that country, and we’re cautiously optimistic that that same thing will happen in Canada.”