A look back at 10 years of the Amazon Kindle

on June 12, 2018
A little more than a decade ago, we introduced Kindle, a device and service that together became synonymous with digital reading. Here's how Kindle—and with it, the way people read—has evolved:
  • November 2007
    Introducing Amazon Kindle
    Fiona_Kindle on Corner.jpg
    With its high-resolution electronic paper display and compact design, the Kindle device revolutionized reading upon its debut. In the works for more than three years, the device was meant to address a pain point at the time for our customers: digital reading just wasn't an appealing or comfortable experience. The Kindle team set out to make a product that, in many ways, aimed to go beyond what paper could offer, embedding a built-in dictionary, search functionality and wireless connectivity that made thousands of titles effortlessly accessible without syncing to a computer – a feature unique to Kindle. The original Kindle service had 90,000 books available to purchase and download. The Kindle sold out within 5.5 hours of its release on November 19.
  • November 2007
    Simplifying Self Publishing
    We launched a self-publishing service, Kindle Direct Publishing—(called Digital Text Platform in 2007) on the same day as the first Kindle device. Today, hundreds of thousands of authors connect with millions of readers around the world, through their stories, thanks to this service. Self-publishing is democratizing the way authors get their books to readers, giving authors more choice and more control, and giving readers more selection than ever before.
  • January 2008
    Amazon acquires Audible
    A stylishly dressed man listens to audio from his smartphone via headphones
    On the heels of the Kindle launch, we ventured next into spoken word with the acquisition of Audible, which included more than 80,000 audiobooks, including titles by best-selling authors such as Stephen King and Thomas Friedman. The top design goal for the Kindle device was "to disappear in your hands—to get out of the way—so you can enjoy your reading," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said just months earlier at the November launch. Listening to books with Audible provided another way for the Kindle experience to "disappear" and let readers immerse themselves in a book and discover new ways to read.
  • February 2009
    A new Kindle that reads to you
    © JORDAN STEAD / Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    Turing, Generations of Amazon's Kindle. (JORDAN STEAD / Amazon)
    Photo by JORDAN STEAD / Amazon
    Strong Kindle sales illustrated the positive customer reaction to Kindle, so we set out to make the customer experience even better. The Kindle 2 featured a sleeker design, 25 percent longer battery life, faster page turns, and other improvements. The catalog of available titles grew from 90,000 titles to 230,000. And with two gigabytes of memory, the Kindle 2 could store 1,500 of those titles. Continuing to push the boundaries on how readers could experience books, Kindle added a "read-to-me feature" that converted text to speech to let customers enjoy books, even when their eyes were busy.
  • March 2009
    Read anywhere on any device
    With the launch of the free Kindle app for iPhone and iPod touch, it became even easier to read anywhere. For the first time, customers could read with Kindle on their phone—whether or not they had a Kindle device. And with new Whispersync technology, Kindle automatically saved and synchronized reading across devices, letting customers seamlessly switch between their Kindle and phone to read more every day.
  • May 2009
    Launching the Kindle DX
    © Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    Nell, Amazon Kindle. (© Amazon, All Rights Reserved)
    Photo by Amazon
    With the Kindle DX, we added a new large-screen experience for readers. Later that year in an interview with Newsweek, Jeff Bezos admitted he was astonished at the success of Kindle: "Two years ago, none of us expected what has happened so far.” An updated version of the DX, with 50 percent better contrast and a lower price, followed in 2010.
  • October 2009
    Kindle goes global
    Building on the mission of making every book, ever written, in any language, available in 60 seconds or less, customers around the world now had access to Kindle. Today, our customers around the world read with Kindle in more than 30 languages on their e-readers and free Kindle apps for iOS, Android, PC and Mac.
  • June 2010
    Kindle for Android debut
    Customers have been enjoying reading with Kindle across all their devices, regardless of OS. With the free Kindle app, customers were finding it even easier to turn their phone or tablet into a book and read anytime, anywhere, on all their devices.
  • July 2010
    A smaller and lighter Kindle
    © Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    Shasta, Amazon Kindle. (© Amazon, All Rights Reserved)
    Photo by Amazon
    The Kindle device established itself as the best-selling, most wished for, and most gifted product on Amazon.com. The third generation Kindle device featured a new design that maintained the six-inch screen while reducing body size by about a fifth. The contrast was 50 percent better, page turns were 20 percent faster, and the new Kindle was 15 percent lighter. The new display made it easier to read in bright sunlight, while added storage increased the carrying capacity to 3,500 books.
  • September 2010
    Kindle for the Web
    With Kindle for the Web, customers could discover and start reading books right in their browser, including free instant previews of the first chapter of Kindle books with no app download or installation required. Kindle for the Web also provided bloggers and authors an easy way to promote books on their digital channels by letting visitors read a chapter without leaving their site and while also earning referral fees on sales.
  • September 2011
    Kindle Touch
    Amazons Whitney Kindle
    Amazons Whitney Kindle
    Photo by JORDAN STEAD / Amazon
    In 2011, we launched the fourth-generation Kindle and Kindle Touch, featuring a touchscreen. With the devices, Amazon reached the “magical two-digit price point,” Bezos noted, at $79 and $99 respectively.

  • November 2011
    Kindle Owners’ Lending Library introduced
    Continuing to expand ways for customers to access Kindle content, we introduced the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. For the first time, owners of Kindle e-readers with an Amazon Prime membership could choose from thousands of Kindle books to borrow and read for free.
  • September 2012
    "The Kindle we’ve always wanted to build"
    © Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    Celeste, Amazon Kindle. (© Amazon, All Rights Reserved)
    Photo by Amazon
    By 2012, Kindle had been the world's best-selling e-reader for five years straight. The fifth iteration of the Kindle device, Paperwhite, was "the Kindle we've always wanted to build," Jeff Bezos said. Paperwhite's standout feature was its display, which had 62 percent more pixels, 25 percent increased contrast, and a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions. Battery life had doubled to eight weeks over the past two years. We’ve heard from couples that the Paperwhite device saved their marriage!
  • September 2013
    Building the Goodreads community into Kindle
    Spring of 2013, we acquired Goodreads, the world’s largest community of readers, that today has more than 65 million members. As part of September’s launch of the new sixth-generation Kindle Paperwhite device (a faster version with better contrast), we began incorporating Goodreads ratings, sharing, and highlights into the Kindle experience—making it easier for customers to discover and discuss books with friends.
  • September 2013
    Whispersync for Voice, and Immersion Reading
    We launched Whispersync for Voice, allowing customers to switch between reading and listening to their book across all their devices (and the Audible app) while saving their place. With Whispersync for Voice, it became easier for customers to find more time to read, seamlessly switching from reading on their Kindle before bed to listening to their book on their phone while commuting to work. At the same time, immersion reading was added to the all-new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD family, letting customers listen to their favorite Audible audio books while simultaneously seeing the text highlighted on the page. Reading and listening together has been shown to increase the motivation to read, and has a meaningful impact on reading retention by engaging the eye and the ear simultaneously.
  • November 2013
    Kindle First—Exclusive Early Access to New Books
    Continuing to innovate on behalf of readers, we launched Kindle First in 2013. Each month, Amazon Publishing editors select several titles from Kindle’s most popular categories a month ahead of their official publication date, adding a note of recommendation and a behind-the-scenes look at the stories and the authors. At launch, customers could choose one of the featured books each month for $1.99 and Prime members could make their selection for free – adding yet another benefit of Prime membership.
  • July 2014
    Customers begin exploring books with Kindle Unlimited
    Kindle Unlimited
    Kindle Unlimited
    With the launch of Kindle Unlimited, book lovers began enjoying unlimited access to over 600,000 Kindle books, and listen to thousands of Audible audiobooks, for only $9.99 a month. The new subscription service made it easy to for customers to try a new author or genre. Kindle Unlimited also provided another way for self-published authors to make a living at their craft—in fact, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select authors have earned over $209 million in royalties in the last 12 months, just from Kindle Unlimited.
  • September 2014
    A new Voyage
    © Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    Voyage, Amazon Kindle. (© Amazon, All Rights Reserved)
    Photo by Amazon
    The thinnest version of the Kindle yet, Voyage was "the next big step" in the mission to "make the device disappear, so you can lose yourself in the author's world," Bezos said. In addition to measuring just 7.6 millimeters, the seventh-generation Kindle device boosted improved screen resolution, speed, and storage. A new page-turning feature, PagePress, let readers flip through a book with a custom-designed sensor that activated with a light press of the thumb.
  • June 2015
    New Bookerly font is crafted from the ground up for digital reading
    Bookerly Font - Kindle
    With the launch of a new Kindle Paperwhite device in 2015, we also introduced our new Bookerly Font and advanced typography engine to help customers read faster and with less eyestrain. Bookerly, an exclusive font designed from the ground up for reading on digital screens, was inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books and was hand-crafted for great readability at any size on digital devices.
  • April 2016
    The lightest Kindle yet
    Kindle Oasis
    Photo by Amazon
    Rethinking the Kindle's design for the eighth generation of the device, we delivered the ergonomic Kindle Oasis. At 4.6 ounces and 3.4 millimeters, Oasis was the lightest and thinnest Kindle, and offered a new generation of the high-resolution 300 ppi Paperwhite display for crisp, laser-quality text.
  • June 2016
    Page Flip–A new way to hop, skim, and jump through Kindle books
    Page Flip, a reimagined Kindle navigation experience, made it easy for readers to explore their Kindle books while always saving their place. With Page Flip, readers could easily flip back and forth between pages to reference different parts of the book while they read, whether referring back to pictures in a political memoir or flipping back and forth between a map and the current page in an epic fantasy series.
  • October 2016
    More reading with Prime
    Prime Reading on a smart phone
    We introduced Prime Reading, which gives Prime members the ability to read as much as they like from a selection of over a thousand top Kindle books, magazines, short works, comic books, children’s books, and more – at no additional cost. Prime Reading was the latest in the growing set of reading benefits for Prime members which also includes the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle First.
  • October 2017
    A beloved product gets even better
    © Amazon, All Rights Reserved.
    All New Oasis, Amazon Kindle. (© Amazon, All Rights Reserved)
    Photo by Amazon
    Nearly 10 years after its debut, Kindle continues to innovate on behalf of readers. The new Kindle Oasis – the ninth generation of the device – launched with the largest, high-resolution Paperwhite display yet; it’s also the first waterproof Kindle. With Audible built in, customers can listen to the world’s largest library of audiobooks and easily switch between reading and listening to a professionally narrated performance on Bluetooth headphones or speakers. Its thin, light, and waterproof design allows readers to stay engaged in the author’s world in even more places than ever before.
  • October 2017
    Turn your phone or tablet into a book
    The Amazon Kindle store displayed on a smartphone
    The Amazon Kindle store displayed on a smartphone
    With the all-new Kindle apps for iOS and Android, we’ve made it easier than ever to turn a phone or tablet into a book—so customers can read anytime, anywhere. The app is designed for book lovers and provides easy access to the most popular Kindle features—effortlessly moving between the pages of a book, a digital library, a personalized bookstore, and more. With the Goodreads community built into Kindle for iOS, readers can easily discover and discuss books they love with friends.

  • Start
  • Nov 07
  • Nov 07
  • Jan 08
  • Feb 09
  • Mar 09
  • May 09
  • Oct 09
  • Jun 10
  • Jul 10
  • Sep 10
  • Sep 11
  • Nov 11
  • Sep 12
  • Sep 13
  • Sep 13
  • Nov 13
  • Jul 14
  • Sep 14
  • Jun 15
  • Apr 16
  • Jun 16
  • Oct 16
  • Oct 17
  • Oct 17
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