|Release date||November 19, 2007|
Kindle Firmware utilizing Linux 2.6.26 to 3.0.35
Original: Marvell Xscale PXA255 400 MHz, ARM5
Original: 64 MB
Internal flash memory (available total/user)
|Controller input||D-pad and keyboard (selected models)
Touchscreen (selected models)
Original, 2, DX: 1,530 mAh
|Amazon Kindle models|
|E Ink devices|
|Android LCD devices|
The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-book readers designed and marketed by Amazon.com. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines and other digital media via wireless networking. The hardware platform, developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126, began as a single device and now comprises a range of devices, including e-readers with E Ink electronic paper displays, and Android-based tablets with color LCD screens. As of June 2015, there are over 3.6 million e-books available in the Kindle Store.
- 1 Naming and evolution
- 2 Devices
- 2.1 E Ink versions
- 2.1.1 First generation
- 2.1.2 Second generation
- 2.1.3 Third generation
- 2.1.4 Fourth generation
- 2.1.5 Fifth generation
- 2.1.6 Sixth generation
- 2.1.7 Seventh generation
- 2.2 LCD versions
- 2.1 E Ink versions
- 3 Kindle applications
- 4 Kindle sales
- 5 Document availability
- 6 Features
- 7 Kindle Development Kit (KDK) and active content
- 8 Kindle Direct Publishing
- 9 Kindle Publishing for Blogs
- 10 Kindle Aftermarket
- 11 Criticism
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Naming and evolution
The Kindle name was devised by branding consultants Michael Cronan and Karin Hibma. Lab 126 tasked them to name the product, so Cronan and Hibma suggested Kindle, meaning to light a fire. They felt this was an apt metaphor for reading and intellectual excitement.
Kindle hardware has evolved from the original Kindle introduced in 2007 and the Kindle DX (with its larger screen) introduced in 2009. The range includes devices with a keyboard (Kindle Keyboard), devices with touch-sensitive high resolution and contrast screens (Kindle Paperwhite), a tablet with the Kindle app (Kindle Fire), and a low-priced model with touch-sensitive screen (Kindle).
Amazon has also introduced Kindle software for use on various devices and platforms, including Microsoft Windows, iOS, BlackBerry, Mac OS X (10.5 or later, Intel processor only), Android, webOS and Windows Phone. Amazon also has a "cloud" reader to allow users to read and purchase Kindle books from any web browser.
Content for the Kindle can be purchased online and downloaded wirelessly in some countries, using either standard Wi-Fi or Amazon's 3G "Whispernet" network. Whispernet is accessible without any monthly fee or wireless subscription, although fees can be incurred for the delivery of periodicals and other content when roaming internationally beyond the customer's home country. Through a service called "Whispersync," customers can synchronize reading progress, bookmarks, and other information across Kindle hardware and other mobile devices.
In the last three months of 2010, Amazon announced that in the United States, their e-book sales had surpassed sales of paperback books for the first time.
E Ink versions
Amazon released the Kindle, the first generation device on November 19, 2007, for US$399. It sold out in five and a half hours. The device remained out of stock for five months until late April 2008.
The device features a 6 inches (diagonal) 4-level grayscale display, with 250 MB of internal storage, which can hold approximately 200 non-illustrated titles. It also has a speaker and headphone jack that allows the user to listen to audio files on Kindle. It is the only Kindle with expandable storage, via an SD card slot.
The device's Whispernet feature was co-designed with Qualcomm, and Kindle was the first device to include free nationwide 3G access to download ebooks from Amazon's Kindle Store. Amazon did not sell the first generation Kindle outside the US.
On February 10, 2009, Amazon announced the Kindle 2, the second generation device. It became available for purchase on February 23, 2009. The Kindle 2 features a text-to-speech option to read the text aloud, and 2 GB of internal memory of which 1.4 GB is user-accessible. By Amazon's estimates, the Kindle 2 can hold about 1,500 non-illustrated books. Unlike the first generation Kindle, Kindle 2 does not have a slot for SD memory cards. It was slimmer than the original Kindle.
On July 8, 2009, Amazon reduced price of the Kindle 2 from the original $359 to $299. On October 7, 2009, Amazon further reduced the price of the Kindle 2 to $259. The Kindle 2 had a manufacturing materials cost estimated at $185.49, in 2009 by iSuppli.
On October 22, 2009, Amazon stopped selling the original Kindle 2 in favor of the international version it had introduced earlier in the month. On November 24, 2009, Amazon released a firmware update for the Kindle 2 that it said increased battery life by 85% and introduced native PDF support.
Kindle 2 international version
On October 7, 2009, Amazon announced an international version of the Kindle 2 with the ability to download new titles in over 100 countries. It became available October 19, 2009. The international Kindle 2 is physically very similar to the U.S.-only model, although it uses a different mobile network standard.
The original Kindle 2 used CDMA2000 for use on the Sprint network. The international version used standard GSM and 3G GSM, enabling it to be used on AT&T's U.S. mobile network and internationally in 100 other countries.
The international version of the Kindle 2 is believed to have a noticeably higher contrast screen, although Amazon does not advertise this. Another review done by Gadget lab, disputes this and actually states that the font appears to be fuzzier than that of the first generation kindle. The review goes on to say that changes to the Kindle 2 have made it tougher to read the smaller font sizes that most books use. Writers on another website discuss how the font size is at times worse than that of the first-generation Kindle. It appears that whether the Kindle 2 is clearer or fuzzier than the prior model depends on the font size. These issues became moot when Amazon sourced a higher contrast E Ink technology it dubbed "E Ink Pearl" and which it used in its subsequent e-readers until the introduction of "E Ink Carta".
On October 22, 2009, Amazon lowered the price on the international version from $279 to $259 and discontinued the U.S.-only model. On June 21, 2010, hours after Barnes & Noble lowered the price of its Nook, Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle 2 to $189.
Amazon announced the Kindle DX on May 6, 2009. This device has a larger screen than the standard Kindle and supports PDF files. It has an accelerometer, which enables the user to seamlessly rotate pages between landscape and portrait orientations when the Kindle DX is turned on its side. It is marketed as more suitable for displaying newspaper and textbook content. The device can only connect to Whispernet in the United States. It can be distinguished from the later International version by a serial number starting with "B004".
Kindle DX international version
Since January 19, 2010, the Kindle DX International has shipped in 100 countries. The Kindle DX comes with a 9.7-inch E Ink screen instead of the 6-inch Kindle screen. It has support for international 3G wireless, and its serial number starts with "B005".
Kindle DX Graphite
On July 1, 2010, Amazon released the Kindle DX Graphite, a revision of the DX. As well as dropping the price from $489 to $379, the new Kindle DX has an E Ink display with 50% better contrast ratio (due to new E Ink Pearl technology) and comes only in a "graphite" case color. It is speculated the case color change is to improve contrast ratio perception further, as some users found the prior white casing highlighted that the E Ink background is light gray and not white. Like the prior Kindle DX, it does not have a Wi-Fi connection. Its serial numbers start with "B009". The DX Graphite (DXG) is a mix of third-generation hardware and second-generation software. The CPU is of the same speed as Kindle Keyboard but is a different revision. The DX Graphite has only a half the system memory, 128MB, of the Kindle Keyboard. Due to these hardware differences, the DX Graphite runs the same firmware as Kindle 2. Therefore, DX Graphite cannot display international fonts (such as the Cyrillic font, Chinese, or any other non-Latin font), and PDF and the web browser are limited to Kindle 2 features. The Kindle DX was withdrawn from sale in October 2012, but in September 2013 was made available again in the US and internationally, with the 3G data free to access the Kindle Store and Wikipedia. Loading personal documents by USB is free, but sending them via 3G is about $1 per megabyte in Ireland. It has battery life of about one week with 3G on and two to three weeks with 3G off; it does not have Wi-Fi. Text-to-Speech and MP3 playback are supported.
Amazon announced the third generation of the Kindle, later renamed as the Kindle Keyboard, on July 28, 2010. While Amazon does not officially add numbers to the end of each Kindle denoting its generation, reviewers, customers and press companies often refer to this updated Kindle as the "K3" or the "Kindle 3". The third generation Kindle had a 6 inches (15 cm) screen with a resolution of 600x800 (167 PPI).
The Kindle Keyboard is available in two versions. One of these, the Kindle Wi-Fi, was initially priced at $139 / GB£111 and connects to the Internet exclusively via Wi-Fi networks. The other version, considered a replacement to the Kindle 2, was priced at $189 / £152 and includes both 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. (currently unavailable in UK ) The built-in free 3G connectivity uses the same wireless signals that cell phones use, allowing it to download and purchase content from any location with cell service. The Kindle Keyboard with 3G is available in two colors: classic white and graphite. Both models use a E Ink "Pearl" display, which has a higher contrast than prior displays and a faster refresh rate than prior types e-ink display. However, it remains significantly slower than traditional LCDs.
The Kindle Keyboard uses a Freescale i. MX353 applications processor, Freescale MC13892 power management chip, Epson E INK controller, and Samsung DRAM and flash. Other hardware changes include a larger 1,750 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, AnyDATA DTP-600W 3G GSM modem, and Atheros AR6102G 802.11bg Wi-Fi chip.
The third-generation Kindle is 0.5 in shorter and 0.5 in narrower than the Kindle 2. It supports additional fonts and international Unicode characters and has a Voice Guide feature with spoken menu navigation. Experimental features include a browser based on the popular WebKit rendering engine (but browser may be limited to 50MB of 3G per month to web sites other than Amazon and Wikipedia in territories outside the United States), Text-to-Speech that can read aloud the text from books and other content, and an MP3 player. Internal memory is expanded to 4 GB, with approximately 3 GB available for user content. Battery life is advertised at up to two months of reading half an hour a day on a single charge with the wireless turned off, which amounts to roughly 30 hours.
Amazon began accepting pre-orders for the new Kindle as soon as it was announced and began shipping the devices on August 27, 2010, in the United States and United Kingdom. With the announcement of the Kindle Keyboard, Amazon also launched an Amazon.co.uk version of the Kindle store. On August 25, 2010, Amazon announced that the Kindle Keyboard was the fastest-selling Kindle ever.
In January 2011, Amazon announced that digital books were outselling their traditional print counterparts for the first time ever on its site, with an average of 115 Kindle editions being sold for every 100 paperback editions.
An ad-supported version, the "Kindle with Special Offers" was introduced on May 3, 2011, with a price reduction of $25 less at $114. On July 13, 2011, Amazon announced that due to a sponsorship agreement with AT&T, the price of the Kindle Keyboard 3G with Special Offers would be lowered to $139, $50 less than the Kindle Keyboard 3G. With the 2011 Kindle announcement, the price of the "Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers" was reduced to $99.
The Kindle Keyboard generally received good reviews after launch. In their Kindle Keyboard Review, Review Horizon describes it as offering "the best reading experience in its class" while Engadget states, "In the standalone category, the Kindle is probably the one to beat".
After the introduction of the Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch e-readers in September 2011, Amazon began describing the previous Kindle version as the 'Kindle Keyboard' instead of the Kindle 3. The 3G model is not available for all countries.
Amazon announced the fourth-generation Kindle on September 28, 2011 ($79 ad-supported, $109 no ads). Retaining the 6 inch e-ink display of the previous Kindle model as well as Amazon's experimental web-browsing capability with Wi-Fi, the fourth-generation Kindle features a slight reduction in weight and size in a silver-grey bezel, as well as nine hard keys, a cursor pad, an on-screen rather than physical keyboard, a flash storage capacity of 2 GB, and an estimated one month battery life.
Amazon announced a touchscreen Kindle, called the Kindle Touch, on September 28, 2011, available with Wi-Fi ($99 ad-supported, $139 no ads) or Wi-Fi/3G connectivity ($149 ad-supported, $189 no ads). Via 3G the device is able to connect to the Kindle Store, download books and periodicals, and access Wikipedia. Experimental web browsing (outside Wikipedia) on Kindle Touch 3G is only available over Wi-Fi. (Kindle Keyboard continues without this restriction). The usage of the 3G data is limited to 50MB per month. The device uses the same 6 inch E-ink screen of the previous Kindle model, with the addition of an infrared touch-screen control. Like its predecessor, the Kindle Touch has a capacity of 4 GB and battery life of two months. The Kindle Touch began to ship on November 15, 2011 (U.S. only). Amazon announced in March 2012 that the device would be available in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy on April 27, 2012. The Touch was the first Kindle to support X-Ray, which lists the commonly used character names, locations, themes, or ideas in a book. In January 2013, Amazon released the 5.2.0 firmware that updated the operating system to match the Paperwhite's interface with the Touch's MP3/audiobook capabilities remaining.
Amazon announced a new version of the regular Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite on September 6, 2012. The Kindle 5 was released on September 6 ($69 ad-supported, $89 no ads). The Kindle has a black bezel (compared to the Kindle 4, which was available in silver-grey), better contrast, and hand-tuned fonts. It is claimed to have 15% faster page loads. It has a 167 PPI display and is the lightest Kindle at 5.98 oz (170 g).
Kindle Paperwhite (1st generation)
The Kindle Paperwhite (1st generation) was released on October 1, 2012 in the United States. It has a 6 in, 212 PPI display (an almost-XGA resolution of 758×1024) with built-in LEDs to illuminate the screen, and has 2GB of storage (1.25GB usable). It was available in Wi-Fi ($119 ad-supported, $139 no ads) and Wi-Fi + 3G ($179 ad-supported, $199 no ads) models, with the ad-supported options only available in the United States. The light is one of the main features of the Paperwhite, but the light level must be adjusted manually. The 3G access restrictions are the same as the Kindle Touch, and usage of the 3G data is limited to 50 MB per month. Additional data can be purchased. Battery life is advertised as up to eight weeks of reading with half an hour per day with wireless off and constant light usage; this usage equals 28 hours. It includes the experimental web browser with the same 3G data restrictions as the Kindle Touch. The official leather cover for the Paperwhite uses the hall effect sensor in the device that detects when the cover is closed/opened to turn the screen off/on respectively. This device was the first Kindle to track one's reading speed to estimate when one will finish a chapter or book; this feature was later included with updates to the other Kindles and Kindle Fire tablets. The Kindle Paperwhite lacks physical buttons for page turning and does not do auto-hyphenation. Except for the lock-screen/power button at its bottom, it relies solely on the touchscreen interface. In November 2012, Amazon released the 5.3.0 update that allowed users to turn off recommended content on the home screen in Grid View (allowing two rows of user content) and included general bug fixes. In March 2014, the Paperwhite 5.4.4 update was released that added Goodreads integration, Kindle FreeTime to restrict usage for children, Cloud Collections for organization and Page Flip for scanning content without losing your place, which closely matches the Paperwhite 2's software features.
The Kindle Paperwhite was released in most major international markets in early 2013, with Japan's version including 4GB of storage, and in China on June 7, 2013.
Engadget praised the Paperwhite, giving it a 92 out of 100. The reviewer liked the front-lit display, high contrast, and useful software features, but did not like that it is less comfortable to hold than the Nook, the starting price includes ads, and it has no expandable storage.
Shortly after release, some users complained about the lighting implementation on the Kindle Paperwhite. While not widespread, some users found the lighting to be inconsistent, causing the bottom edge to cast irregular shadows. Also, some users complained that the light can only be dimmed, not turned off completely.
Kindle Paperwhite (2nd generation)
Amazon announced the Kindle Paperwhite (2nd generation), marketed as the "All-New Kindle Paperwhite" and colloquially referred to as the Paperwhite 2, on September 3, 2013; the Wi-Fi version was released in the US on September 30, 2013 ($119 ad-supported, $139 no ads), and the 3G/Wi-Fi version was released in the US on November 5, 2013 ($189 ad-supported, $209 no ads).
The Paperwhite 2 features a higher contrast E Ink Carta display technology, improved LED illumination, 25% faster processor (1 GHz) that allows for faster page turns, and better response to touch input compared to the original Paperwhite. It has the same 6" screen with 212 PPI and bezel as the original Paperwhite. The software features dictionary/Wikipedia/X-Ray look-up, Page Flip that allows the user to skip ahead or back in the text in a pop-up window and go back to the previous page, and Goodreads social integration.
The Paperwhite 2 uses a similar experimental web browser with the same 3G data usage restrictions as previous Kindles; there are no usage restrictions when using Wi-Fi. The official Amazon leather cover for the Paperwhite 2 is the same item as was used for the original Paperwhite. It turns the screen on or off when it is opened or closed.
The Kindle Paperwhite 2 was released in most major international markets by the middle of 2014 and this released model includes 4GB of storage. As of September 2014, the US version of the Paperwhite 2 includes 4GB of storage.
Engadget rated the Paperwhite 2 a 93 out of 100, saying while the "all-new" Paperwhite does not offer many new features compared to the original model, but "an improved frontlight and some software tweaks have made an already great reading experience even better."
Amazon announced an upgraded basic Kindle and the Kindle Voyage on September 18, 2014. The Kindle 7 was released on October 2, 2014 ($79 ad-supported, $99 no ads). It is the first basic Kindle to use a touchscreen for navigating within books. It is the first basic Kindle available in international markets such as India, Japan and China. Amazon claims that a single charge lasts up to a month if used half an hour a day without using Wi-Fi.
The Kindle Voyage was released on October 21, 2014 in the US. It has a 6-inch, 300 ppi E Ink Carta HD display, which was the highest resolution and contrast available in e-readers as of 2014 with adaptive LEDs that can illuminate the screen depending on the environment. It is available in Wi-Fi ($199 ad-supported, $219 no ads) and Wi-Fi + 3G ($269 ad-supported, $289 no ads) models. Its design features a flush glass screen on the front and the rear has angular, raised plastic edges that house the power button, similar to the Fire HDX. The Voyage uses "PagePress", a navigation system whereby sensors on either side of the screen turn the page when pressed. PagePress may be disabled, but the touchscreen must remain active to use the UI. Amazon claims it has 6 weeks of battery life if used for 30 minutes per day with wireless disabled and brightness set to 10, which means about 21 hours of use.
The Verge gave the Voyage a 9.1 out of 10, saying that "this is the best E Ink e-reader I've used, and it's unquestionably the best that Amazon has ever made. The thing is, it's only marginally better than the fantastic Paperwhite in several ways, and significantly better in none" and with those differences in mind, disliked how it cost $80 more than the Paperwhite 2.
Kindle Paperwhite (3rd generation)
The Kindle Paperwhite (3rd generation), marketed as the "All-New Kindle Paperwhite" and colloquially referred to as the Paperwhite 3 and Paperwhite 2015, was released on June 30, 2015 in the US. It has a 6-inch, 1440×1080, 300 ppi E Ink Carta HD display, which has twice the pixels of the original Paperwhite, and has the same touchscreen and size as the previous Paperwhite. It is available in Wi-Fi ($119 ad-supported, $139 no ads) and Wi-Fi + 3G ($189 ad-supported, $209 no ads) models.
The Paperwhite 3 is the first e-reader to include the Bookerly font, a new font designed by Amazon, and includes updated formatting functions such as hyphenation and improved spacing. The official Amazon leather cover for the Paperwhite 3 is the same item as was used for the previous two Paperwhite devices.
This version improved the reading of PDF files, with the possibility to select text and use all functionalities on it (e.g. translation).
The Verge gave the Paperwhite 3 a 9.0 out of 10, saying that "The Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader for most people by a wide margin" and likes the high-resolution screen but disliked that there was no adaptive backlight [sic], as is found on the Voyage.
Amazon announced Kindle Fire, an Android-based tablet that uses a fork of Android on September 28, 2011. It was released for $199 and has a 7 in IPS color touchscreen display. This was the first Kindle without an E Ink display. However, unlike previously released Kindles, it has no 3G option, but only Wi-Fi. It has 8 GB of storage and a projected battery life of up to eight hours. In September 2012, the Kindle Fire was refreshed to have more RAM, a faster processor, an updated OS, and price reduced to $159.
Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire HD, announced on September 6, 2012, is the second generation of Amazon's color touchscreen Kindle Fire tablet line. It is available in three form factors, 6 in, 7 in and 8.9 in screen sizes. Introductory pricing was at $199 and $299, respectively for the 16 GB versions; both Fire HD were sold at cost. The 7 in version was released on September 14, while the 8.9 in model (with either Wi-Fi or 4G model) was released on November 20, 2012. In October 2013, the Kindle Fire HD 7 in was refreshed to use the Kindle Fire HDX unibody and had its price reduced to $139.
In October 2014, Amazon released its next line of Fire HD tablets, officially removing "Kindle" from the tablets' name.
Kindle Fire HDX
The Kindle Fire HDX, announced on September 25, 2013, is the third generation of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet line that uses Fire OS 3. It is available in 7 inch and 8.9 inch screen sizes, with introductory prices of $229 and $379, respectively, for the 16 GB version with special offers. Both tablets are also available in 32 and 64 GB versions.
In the 2014 refresh of the tablet, it was renamed Fire HDX removing the name Kindle.
Amazon released the Kindle for PC application in late 2009, available for Microsoft Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP systems. This application allows thousands of books to be read on a personal computer in color, with no Kindle unit required, for e-books purchased from Amazon's store. Amazon later released a version for Apple's Macintosh and OS X, in early 2010. In June 2010, Amazon released the Amazon Kindle for Android. After the Android app release, versions for the Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad), and BlackBerry OS phones are also available. In January 2011, Amazon released Kindle for Windows Phone 7. In July 2011, Kindle for HP TouchPad (running webOS) was released in the US as a beta version. In August 2011, Amazon released an HTML5 based webapp supporting the Chrome, Firefox and Safari web browsers called Kindle Cloud Reader. As of 2013, Amazon has expressed no interest in releasing a separate application for Linux operating systems; however, the Cloud Reader can be used in Linux using its browser.
On April 17, 2014, Samsung announced it would discontinue its own e-book store effective July 1, 2014 and it partnered with Amazon to create the Kindle for Samsung app, which allows Samsung Galaxy users with Android 4.0+ to use Amazon's e-book catalog, and added a free e-book service, Samsung Book Deals, that allows users to choose one ebook monthly out of four.
Specific Kindle sales numbers are not released by the company; however, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, stated in a shareholders' meeting in January 2010 that "millions of people now own Kindles". According to anonymous inside sources, over three million Kindles had been sold as of December 2009, while external estimates, as of Q4-2009, place the number at about 1.5 million. According to James McQuivey of Forrester Research, estimates are ranging around four million, as of mid-2010. On March 6, 2011, AT&T stores officially started sales of the Amazon Kindle.
In 2010, Amazon remained the undisputed leader in the e-reader category, accounting for 59% of e-readers shipped, and it gained 14 percentage points in share. According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) study from March 2011, sales for all e-book readers worldwide reached 12.8 million in 2010; 48% of them were Kindles.
In December 2011, Amazon announced that customers had purchased "well over" one million Kindles per week since the end of November 2011; this includes all available Kindle models and also the Kindle Fire tablet. IDC estimated that the Kindle Fire sold about 4.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011. Pacific Crest estimated that the Kindle Fire models sold six million units during Q4 2012.
Content from Amazon and some other content providers is primarily encoded in Amazon's proprietary Kindle format (AZW, KF8). It is also possible to load content in various formats from a computer by transferring it to the Kindle via a USB cable or by emailing it to a registered email address provided by Amazon (for a fee via 3G, or free via Wi-Fi); the email service can convert a number of document formats to Amazon's AZW format and then transmit the result to the associated Kindle over Whispernet. Amazon also has an application and browser extension called "Send to Kindle," which users can use to convert a web page to a format that can be read on Kindle. In addition to published content, Kindle users can also access the Internet using the experimental web browser, which uses NetFront.
In late 2007, new releases and New York Times best sellers were being offered for approximately $11, with first chapters of many books offered as free samples. Many titles, including some classics, are offered free of charge or at a low price, which has been stated to relate to the cost of adapting the book to the Kindle format. Magazines, newspapers and blogs via RSS are provided by Amazon per a monthly subscription fee or a free trial period. Newspaper subscriptions cost from $1.99 to $27.99 per month; magazines charge between $1.25 and $10.99 per month, and blogs charge from $0.99 to $1.99 per month. Amazon e-book sales overtook print for one day for the first time on Christmas Day of 2009.
International users of Kindle pay different prices for books depending on their registered countries. For U.S. customers traveling abroad, Amazon originally charged a $1.99 fee to download books over 3G while overseas. However, Amazon eventually did away with that additional charge. Fees remain for wireless delivery of periodical subscriptions and personal documents.
In addition to the Kindle store, paid content for the Kindle can be purchased from various independent sources such as Fictionwise, Mobipocket, and Baen Ebooks. Public domain titles are also obtainable for the Kindle via content providers such as Project Gutenberg, The Internet Archive, Retroread, and World Public Library. In 2011, the Kindle store had more than twice as much paid content as its nearest competitor, Barnes and Noble.
Public libraries that offer books via OverDrive, Inc. also loan titles for the Kindle and Kindle reading apps. Books are checked out from the library's own site, which forwards to Amazon for the completion of the checkout process. Amazon then delivers the title to the Kindle for the duration of the loan, though some titles may require transfer via a USB connection to a computer. If the book is later checked out again or purchased, annotations and bookmarks are preserved.
The device is sold with electronic editions of its owner's manual; the U.S. version also includes the New Oxford American Dictionary and the UK version, the Oxford Dictionary of English (not to be confused with the Oxford English Dictionary). Users can purchase different dictionaries from the Kindle store as specified in the included manual.
Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited
As a member of Amazon Prime, access to the "Kindle Owners' Lending Library" is given that allows Kindle-owning members to borrow one e-book, from over 600,000 titles as of the middle of 2014, per calendar month.
In July 2014, Amazon added the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, which at release allowed unlimited access to over 638,000 titles and over 7,000 audiobooks for a monthly fee. As of June 2015, there were over one million titles available in Kindle Unlimited, from publishers such as Algonquin Books, Allworth Press, Basic Books, Chronicle Books, Greenleaf Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, HOW Books, Indiana University Press, Lerner Publishing Group, Lonely Planet, Mariner Books, North Light Books, Rodale, Inc., Skyhorse Publishing, Storey Publishing, Sussex Academic Press, Timber Press, and Workman Publishing Company.
Operating system updates are designed to be received wirelessly and installed automatically during a period in sleep mode in which Wi-Fi is turned on. Kindles are charged using either a computer's USB port or an AC adapter. The Kindle also contains experimental features such a basic web browser. Users can also play MP3 music in the background, if the device supports MP3 playback.
File formats 
Kindle devices are designed to use Amazon's own e-book formats: AZW, and, in fourth generation and later Kindles, AZW3, also called KF8. Kindles do not support the EPUB file format used by many other e-book readers. Similarly to EPUB, Amazon's file formats are intended for reflowable, richly formatted e-book content and support DRM restrictions, but unlike EPUB, they are proprietary formats. Free software such as the free and open source calibre, Amazon's KindleGen, and the email based Send-to-Kindle service are available to convert e-books into these formats. Kindle devices can also display some generic document formats such as plain text (TXT) and Portable Document Format (PDF) files; however, reflowing is not supported for these file types.
Proprietary formats (AZW, KF8 & KFX)
The first Kindle devices used the AZW e-book format, which is identical to the Mobipocket (MOBI) format for files that are not DRM-restricted.
In late 2011, the Kindle Fire introduced "Kindle Format 8" (KF8), better known as AZW3 file format. AZW3 supports a subset of HTML5 and CSS3 features, while also acting as a container for a backwards-compatible MOBI content document.
In August 2015, all the Kindle ereaders released within the last two years were updated with a new typesetting and layout engine that adds hyphens, kerning (improved word spacing), and ligatures to the text and e-books that support this engine require the use of the "Kindle Format 10" (KFX) file format. E-books that support the enhanced typesetting format are indicated on the book's description page.
Format support by device
The first-generation Kindle can read only unprotected Mobipocket files (MOBI, PRC), plain text files (TXT), Topaz format books (TPZ) and Amazon's AZW format.
The Kindle 2 added native PDF capability with the version 2.3 firmware upgrade. The Kindle 1 could not read PDF files, but Amazon provides experimental conversion to the native AZW format, with the caveat that not all PDFs may format correctly. The Kindle 2 added the ability to play the Audible Enhanced (AAX) format. The Kindle 2 can also display HTML files.
The fourth/fifth/seventh generation Kindles, Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite (1st and 2nd generations) and Voyage can display AZW, AZW3, TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, and PRC files natively. HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP are usable through conversion. The Keyboard and Touch can also play Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX) and MP3 files. The seventh generation Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd and 3rd generations) and Voyage can display KFX files natively.
Amazon offers an email-based service that will convert GIF, PNG, and BMP graphics to AZW. Amazon will also convert HTML pages and Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX) documents through the same email-based mechanism, which will send a Kindle-formatted file to the device via 3G for $0.15 per MB or via Wi-Fi for free. In addition, this service can send unprotected MOBI files to a user's Kindle. These services can be accessed by Kindle devices, iOS devices running Kindle app version 2.9 or greater, and Android devices running Kindle app version 3.5 or greater.
Multiple device abilities and organization
A book may be downloaded from Amazon to several devices at the same time. The devices sharing the book must be registered to the same Amazon account. A sharing limit typically ranges from one to six devices, depending on an undisclosed number of licenses set by the book publisher. When a limit is reached, the user must remove the book from some device or unregister a device containing the book in order to add a book to another device.
The original Kindle and Kindle 2 did not allow the user to organize books into folders. The user could only select what type of content to display on the home screen and whether to organize by author, title, or download date. Kindle software version 2.5 (released July 2010) allowed for the organization of books into "Collections" which behave like non-structured tags/labels: a collection can not include other collections, and one book may be added to multiple collections. These collections are normally set and organized on the Kindle itself, one book at a time. The set of all collections of a first Kindle device can be imported to a second Kindle device that is connected to the cloud and is registered to the same user; as the result of this operation, the documents that are on the second device now become organized according to the first device's collections. calibre had a plugin that made it possible to organize these collections on a computer, but this plugin no longer functions on newer models such as the Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire. There remains no option to organize by series or series order, as the AZW format does not possess the necessary metadata fields.
Users can bookmark, highlight, and search through content. Pages can be bookmarked for reference, and notes can be added to relevant content. While a book is open on the display, menu options allow users to search for synonyms and definitions from the built-in dictionary. The device also remembers the last page read for each book. Pages can be saved as a "clipping", or a text file containing the text of the currently displayed page. All clippings are appended to a single file, which can be downloaded over a USB cable. Due to the TXT format of the clippings file, all formatting (such as bold, italics, bigger fonts for headlines, etc.) is stripped off the original text.
On July 18, 2011, Amazon began a program that allows college students to rent Kindle textbooks from three different publishers for a fixed period of time.
Collection of user reading data
Kindle devices may report information about their users' reading data such as last page read, annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings to Amazon. The Kindle stores this information on all Amazon e-books but it is unclear if this data is stored for non-Amazon e-books. There is a lack of e-reader data privacy — Amazon knows the user's identity, what the user is reading, whether the user has finished the book, what page the user is on, how long the user has spent on each page, and which passages the user may have highlighted.
Kindle Development Kit (KDK) and active content
On January 21, 2010, Amazon announced the forthcoming release of its Kindle Development Kit. It aims to allow developers to build 'active content' for the Kindle, and a beta version was announced with a February 2010 release date. A number of companies have already experimented with delivering active content through the Kindle's bundled browser, and the KDK promises 'sample code, documentation and the Kindle Simulator' together with a new revenue sharing model for developers.
As of March 2012[update] Kindle store offers over 200 items labeled as active content. These items include simple applications and games, including a free set provided by Amazon Digital Services. As of 2012, the active content is only available in the US (or users with a US billing address).
Kindle Direct Publishing
Concurrently with the Kindle device, Amazon launched Kindle Direct Publishing, used by authors and publishers to independently publish their books directly to Kindle and Kindle Apps worldwide. In open beta testing as of late 2007, the platform was promoted to established authors by an e-mail and by advertisements at Amazon.com. Authors can upload documents in several formats for delivery via Whispernet and charge between $0.99 and $200.00 per download. These documents may be written in 34 languages.
In a December 5, 2009 interview with The New York Times, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that Amazon.com keeps 65% of the revenue from all ebook sales for the Kindle. The remaining 35% is split between the book author and publisher. After numerous commentators observed that Apple's popular App Store offers 70% of royalties to the publisher, Amazon began a program that offers 70% royalties to Kindle publishers who agree to certain conditions. Some of these conditions, such as the inability to opt out of the lendability feature, have caused some controversy.
Other criticisms involve the business model behind Amazon's implementation and distribution of e-books. Amazon introduced a software application allowing Kindle books to be read on an iPhone or iPod Touch, and soon followed with an application called "Kindle for PCs" that can be run on a Windows PC. Due to the book publishers' DRM policies, Amazon claims there is no right of first sale with e-books and states that, since ebooks are licensed, not purchased (unlike paper books), buyers do not actually own their e-books. This has, however, never been tested in court, and the outcome of any action by Amazon is uncertain. The law on these matters is in a state of flux in jurisdictions around the world.
Amazon has reported the Kindle version of Fifty Shades of Grey sold more than double that of Amazon's print sales of the book, and, in June 2012, the Kindle edition became the first to sell more than one million copies.
Amazon initially paid authors in its Kindle Select program a set fee per book, provided a reader read at least 10 percent of the book. This drew criticism from authors of longer works because a reader would have to read more of their books in order for the authors to receive any payment, while those who wrote shorter books could receive payment more easily. In July 2015, the company changed its Kindle Select payment structure to a per-page model.
Kindle Publishing for Blogs
Amazon, not the publisher, sets the monthly subscription rate for each blog between $0.99 - $1.99. Since the blogs may contain pictures, and wireless 3G access requires no monthly subscription fee, Amazon retains 70% of the revenue from blog sales, remitting 30% to the content publisher.
As of July 2014, the program status is listed as beta.
Working Kindles in good condition can be sold, traded, donated or recycled in the aftermarket.
Due to the Kindle’s primary function as a reading device and the relatively small amount Kindles can be resold for, many choose to instead donate their Kindle to schools, hospitals, developing countries, literacy organizations and charities.
"The Kindle Classroom Project". promotes reading by distributing Kindles to schools in need. "E-Books for Troops". ships donated Kindles to the Army, Navy, Marines and the Air Force. "Develop Africa". and Worldreader send used Kindles (and other E-Book readers) to schools in the developing world for educational use.
Whether in good condition or not, Kindles should not be disposed of due to the device's e-ink and batteries. Instead Kindles at the end of their life should be recycled. Amazon runs their own "Take Back". program which allows owners to print out a prepaid shipping label, which can be used to return the device via UPS for disposal.
On July 17, 2009, Amazon.com withdrew certain Kindle titles, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, from sale, refunded the cost to those who had purchased them, and remotely deleted these titles from purchasers' devices after discovering that the publisher lacked rights to publish the titles in question. Notes and annotations for the books made by users on their devices were left in a separate file, but "rendered useless" without the content to which they were directly linked. The move prompted outcry and comparisons to Nineteen Eighty-Four itself. In the novel, books, magazines and newspapers in public archives that contradict the ruling party are either edited long after being published or destroyed outright; the removed materials go "down the memory hole", the nickname for an incinerator chute. Customers and commentators noted the resemblance to the censorship in the novel, and described Amazon's action in Orwellian terms. Some critics[who?] also argued that the deletion violated the Kindle's Terms of Service, which states in part:
Upon your payment of the applicable fees set by Amazon, Amazon grants you the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the applicable Digital Content and to view, use and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times, solely on the Device or as authorized by Amazon as part of the Service and solely for your personal, non-commercial use.
Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener stated that the company is "... changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances." On July 23, 2009, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted an apology about the company's handling of the matter on Amazon's official Kindle forum. Bezos said the action was "stupid", and that the executives at Amazon "deserve the criticism received."
On July 30, 2009, Justin Gawronski, a Michigan high school senior, and Antoine Bruguier, a California engineer, filed suit against Amazon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Gawronski argued that Amazon had violated its terms of service by remotely deleting the copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four he had purchased, in the process preventing him from accessing annotations he had written. Bruguier also had his copy deleted without his consent, and found Amazon practiced "deceit" in an email exchange. The complaint, which requested class-action status, asked for both monetary and injunctive relief. The case was settled on September 25, 2009, with Amazon agreeing to pay $150,000 divided between the two plaintiffs, on the understanding that the law firm representing them, Kamber Edelson LLC, "...will donate its portion of that fee to a charitable organization...". The settlement also saw Amazon guaranteeing wider rights to Kindle owners over its e-books:
For copies of Works purchased pursuant to TOS granting "the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy" of each purchased Work and to "view, use and display [such Works] an unlimited number of times, solely on the [Devices]... and solely for [the purchasers'] personal, non-commercial use", Amazon will not remotely delete or modify such Works from Devices purchased and being used in the United States unless (a) the user consents to such deletion or modification; (b) the user requests a refund for the Work or otherwise fails to pay for the Work (e.g., if a credit or debit card issuer declines to remit payment); (c) a judicial or regulatory order requires such deletion or modification; or (d) deletion or modification is reasonably necessary to protect the consumer or the operation of a Device or network through which the Device communicates (e.g., to remove harmful code embedded within a copy of a Work downloaded to a Device).
On September 4, 2009, Amazon offered affected users a restoration of the deleted e-books, an Amazon gift certificate, or a check for the amount of $30.
In December 2010, three e-books by author Selena Kitt were removed due to violations of Amazon's publishing guidelines. For what Amazon describes as "a brief period of time," the books were unavailable for redownload by users who had already purchased them. This ability was restored after it was brought to Amazon's attention; however, no remote deletion took place.
In October 2012, Amazon suspended the account of Linn Nygaard, a user in Norway who had purchased her Kindle in the UK, and deleted every book she had purchased. Amazon claimed that she had violated their terms of service, but was not specific as to what she had done wrong. After Nygaard contacted the media, Amazon restored her account and purchased books. The event serves to remind Kindle users that even when a user clicks buy, the user only holds a license to view ebooks that can be revoked by Amazon any time for violating the terms of service.
Free software activist Richard Stallman criticized the Kindle, citing Kindle terms of service which can censor users, which require the user's identification and which can have a negative effect on independent book distributors — also citing reported restrictions on Kindle users as well as mistreatment.
- Comparison of e-book readers
- Comparison of tablet computers
- Barnes & Noble Nook
- Kobo eReader
- Sony Reader
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|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Directing Technology/Kindle|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Amazon Kindle.|
- Kindle Store (official), Amazon.
- Kindle Store (UK) (official), Amazon.
- "The Revolution Will Be Digitalized", City Journal, June 13, 2008.
- Rose, Charlie (November 19, 2007), CEO Jeff Bezos about the Kindle (video) (interview).
- Teardown of the Amazon Kindle (You tube) (video), Google.