If you've been holding out for the 8.9-inch version of the Kindle Fire HD, Amazon has both good and bad news for you.

The good news is that the larger, Wi-Fi only Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch model began shipping earlier than anticipated on Thursday.

"With the holiday season upon us, we're excited to make our $299 Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch available early," said Dave Limp, vice president, Amazon Kindle.

"We think customers are going to love web browsing, email, gaming, watching TV shows, reading magazines, and more on the large, stunning HD screen, with fast Wi-Fi and exceptional audio."

However, despite the early-bird availability, according to Amazon's website, orders placed today are expected to ship on Dec. 3.

4G model up next

With a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a more spacious 1920 x 1200 HD display, Amazon's two 8.9-inch versions of the Kindle Fire HD have been available for preorder since they were announced on September 7.

According to an Amazon press release, the 4G LTE-equipped Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch model will follow its Wi-Fi only sibling next week, when it begins shipping on Nov. 20.

The cellular-equipped model features a $49.99 4G tablet data package from AT&T which includes 12 sessions up to 250MB each, plus a $10 Amazon Appstore for Android credit and 20GB of Amazon CloudDrive storage.

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch starts at $299 for 16GB or $369 for 32GB, with the 4G LTE model starting at $499 for 32GB or $599 for 64GB; customers can add $15 to any model for an ad-free experience.