It seems like a minor point, but I've seen so much nonsense written about this on Twitter that I thought a quick post was in order.
Rip-off, right? Wrong.
The $79 price being thrown about during the press event was for the ad-supported 'Kindle with special offers' (details of the old deal can be found here). If you don't want the ads then the Kindle sets you back an extra $30, taking the price to $109.
The problem is that 'Kindle with special offers' is currently not available outside of the US, so the UK version is the ad-free version. $109 works out at £70, which means that those in the UK are still paying a premium ... but wait a minute, you gotta add on top of that 20% VAT (sales tax), so the price is now up to £84.
So you're not really paying that much of a premium after all.