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Ten Years of Kindle

Amazon Kindle 10 years history devices infographic Imgur


It's been a decade since "Fiona" was first imagined, the codename Amazon gave to the first iteration of the Kindle. As recounted in The Everything Store, Brad Stone's rollicking 2013 history of Amazon, Jeff Bezos commanded his deputies in 2004 to build the world's best e-reader lest Apple or Google beat them to it. To Steve Kessel, who was put in charge of running the company's digital business, Bezos reportedly said: "I want you to proceed as if your goal is to put everyone selling physical books out of a job."

It took three years for Kindle to come to market. The first model wasn't particularly beautiful: a $400, off-white chunk of plastic with a full QWERTY keyboard. But before the world had ever heard of an app store, Amazon had integrated its bookstore directly into the device. For the first time, you could summon almost any book you could think of within seconds, no matter where you were.

The initial, never-quantified run of devices sold out in five and a half hours, and soon Kindle became synonymous with e-reading. Amazon has never released sales figures for the Kindle, but analysts believe the company has sold more than 80 million of them, andMorgan Stanley estimated the devices would generate revenues of $5 billion this year. (Amazon declined to comment on sales figures.)

More than that, Kindle brought ebooks into the mainstream. About 28 percent of Americans read an ebook last year, up from 17 percent in 2011. And the more popular they became, the more Amazon pushed to transform them.

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I find it hard to believe that 28 percent of Americans read a BOOK last year.

Maybe "ebook" includes things like reading the preroll of videogames on iPhones?

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