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The History of the Kindle

After three years of development, Amazon launched the first-generation Kindle on November 19, 2007. The brand-new device was presented by Jeff Bezos in New York City and came with 90,000 titles available. It retailed for $399 and sold out in under 6 hours. Notably, Amazon also launched Kindle Direct Publishing, the company’s self-publishing platform for authors, at the same time. The first iteration of the Kindle was bulky and weighed 10.3 ounces; it also featured a physical keyboard, a feature that was later removed as the device’s design became more streamlined. The Kindle’s launch was not without controversy and disrupting an established industry wasn't taken lightly by the other juggernauts in the space. In fact, Apple aligned with traditional publishing houses to work against Amazon’s fixed low pricing structure and there was an ensuing lawsuit. The court sided with Amazon, but the pricing structure set by Apple and traditional publishers remained in effect. Despite this setback, the Kindle was a massive success and is generally credited with taking the e-book into the mainstream. A few years after the Kindle’s debut, Amazon launched iOS and Android versions of Kindle as well as the Kindle 2, the Kindle DX, and the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard). With the launch of the Kindle 4 (Kindle Touch), Amazon removed the physical keyboard from the device’s design. In 2012, the company released the first-generation Kindle Paperwhite, which became very popular (an updated version is still sold today and boasts features like a waterproof casing and quick page turning). This was then followed by the debut of the Kindle Voyage in 2014, although the device was soon discontinued. The Kindle Oasis debuted in 2016 and was marketed as a luxury item, and while it is still sold, no new versions have been announced since 2019. The success of the Kindle also spawned a host of similar products, but very few were as successful as Amazon’s flagship e-reader. Today, the Kindle remains one of the most popular e-readers on the market and newer versions have user-friendly features like a lightweight casing and glare-free display.

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