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Main article: "Kindle Fire

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-inch "IPS color touchscreen display. This was the first Kindle without an E Ink display. However unlike previously released Kindles, it has no 3G option only Wi-Fi.[92]

Kindle Fire HD[edit]

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 inch, 7 inch and 8.9 inch screen sizes. The Fire HD was sold at cost.[93][94]

In October 2014, Amazon released its next line of Fire HD tablets, officially removing "Kindle" from the device's name.[95]

Kindle Fire HDX[edit]

Kindle Fire HDX

The Kindle Fire HDX, announced on September 25, 2013, is the third generation of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet line that initially used "Fire OS 3; it was available in 7 inch and 8.9 inch screen sizes.[94]

In the 2014 refresh of the tablet, it was renamed Fire HDX officially removing the name "Kindle" from that device's name.

Accessories[edit]

Kindle cases[edit]

With the release of the Kindle Paperwhite in 2012, Amazon released the official "Paperwhite Leather Cover" with a natural leather cover and a plastic back that is form-fitted for the device.[96] The cover closes book-like from the left edge. The cover has a sensor that activates the sleep/wake function when it is closed/opened and the case weighs 5.6 ounces.

With the release of the Kindle Voyage in 2014, Amazon released the official "Protective Cover" with either a polyurethane or a leather cover. The Voyage attaches to the rear of the Protective Cover magnetically and the case's cover folds over the top and the case weighs 4.6 ounces. The case can fold into a stand, propping the Kindle up for hands-free reading.[97]

Kindle audio adapter[edit]

In May 2016, Amazon released the official Kindle Audio Adapter for reading e-books aloud via a text-to-speech (TTS) system for the blind and visually impaired.[98] This "accessibility accessory, initially supported only for the Paperwhite 3 and Oasis, plugs in the USB port and connects to headphones or speakers. Once connected, the reader uses the Voiceview for Kindle feature to navigate the interface and listen to e-books via TTS. This feature only supports e-books, not audiobooks or music.

Using the accessory reduces the Paperwhite 3's battery life to six hours. As an alternative to the official adapter, a generic USB to audio converter will also work with Voiceview.[99]

Kindle applications[edit]

Amazon released the Kindle for PC "application in late 2009, available for "Microsoft Windows "systems.[100] This application allows ebooks from Amazon's store or personal ebooks to be read on a personal computer, with no Kindle device required.[101] Amazon released a Kindle for Mac app for "Apple "Macintosh & "OS X systems in early 2010.[102] In June 2010, Amazon released the Amazon Kindle for Android. Soon after the Android release, versions for the Apple "iOS ("iPhone and "iPad) and "BlackBerry OS phones were available.[103] In January 2011, Amazon released Kindle for "Windows Phone.[104] In July 2011, Kindle for "HP TouchPad (running "webOS) was released in the US as a beta version.[105] In August 2011, Amazon released an "HTML5-based "webapp for supported web browsers called Kindle Cloud Reader.[106] In 2013, Amazon has expressed no interest in releasing a separate application for "Linux systems; the Cloud Reader can be used on supported browsers in Linux.[107] As of July 2016, there is no Kindle Linux application.

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 optimized for "Samsung Galaxy devices. The app uses Amazon's e-book store and it includes a service that offers a monthly selection of free e-books.[108]

On June 2016, Amazon started to release the new Page Flip feature to its Kindle applications.[109] This feature allows the user to flip through nine thumbnails of page images at a time.

Kindle sales[edit]

Specific Kindle sales numbers are not released by Amazon.com; however, CEO Jeff Bezos stated in a shareholders' meeting in January 2010 that "millions of people now own Kindles".[110] According to anonymous inside sources, over three million Kindles had been sold as of December 2009,[111] while external estimates, as of Q4-2009, place the number at about 1.5 million.[112] According to James McQuivey of "Forrester Research, estimates are ranging around four million, as of mid-2010.[113] On March 6, 2011, AT&T stores officially started sales of the Amazon Kindle.[114]

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.[115] 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.[116] In the last three months of 2010, Amazon announced that in the United States its e-book sales had surpassed sales of paperback books for the first time.[117]

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.[118] 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.[119] IDC estimated that the Kindle Fire sold about 4.7 million units during the fourth quarter of 2011.[120] Pacific Crest estimated that the Kindle Fire models sold six million units during Q4 2012.[121]

"Morgan Stanley estimates that Amazon sold $3.57 billion worth of Kindle e-readers and tablets in 2012, $4.5 billion in Kindle device sales in 2013 and $5 billion in Kindle device sales in 2014.[122]

Document availability[edit]

Kindle Store
""
""
"The New Yorker subscribed on a "Kindle Keyboard"

Content from Amazon's Kindle Store is encoded in Amazon's proprietary Kindle formats (".azw, ".kf8 and ".kfx). In addition to published content, Kindle users can also access the Internet using the experimental web browser, which uses "NetFront.[123][124]

Users can use the Kindle Store to access reading material using the Kindle itself or through a web browser to access content and as of July 2016, there are over 4.6 million e-books available at the store.[4] The store features "Kindle Unlimited for unlimited access to over one million e-books for a monthly fee.[125]

For US customers traveling abroad, Amazon originally charged a $1.99 fee to download e-books over 3G while overseas, but later removed the fee. Fees remain for wireless 3G delivery of periodical subscriptions and personal documents, while Wi-Fi delivery has no extra charge.[126]

In addition to the Kindle Store, content for the Kindle can be purchased from various independent sources such as "Fictionwise and "Baen Ebooks. "Public domain titles are also obtainable for the Kindle via content providers such as "Project Gutenberg, "The Internet Archive and the World Public Library. In 2011, the Kindle Store had more than twice as much paid content as its nearest competitor, "Barnes & Noble.[127]

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.[128]

Features[edit]

"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.[129] A user may install firmware updates manually by downloading the firmware for their device and copying the file to the device's root directory.[130] The Kindle operating system uses the "Linux kernel with a "Java app for reading e-books.[131]

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.[132] Users can play MP3 music in the background, if the user is using a Kindle that supports MP3 playback. Users needing "accessibility due to vision can can use an audio adapter to listen any e-book read aloud on supported Kindles or those with trouble reading the text may use the Amazon Ember Bold font for darker text.

File formats [edit]

Kindle devices are designed to use Amazon's own e-book formats: AZW, and, in fourth generation and later Kindles, AZW3, also called KF8.[133] 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,[134] 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 and KFX)[edit]

Kindle Format 8
"Filename extension .azw3
"Internet media type application/vnd.amazon.mobi8-ebook
Developed by Amazon.com
Initial release 2011
Type of format "e-book "file format

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), also known as AZW3 file format.[135] AZW3 supports a subset of "HTML5 and "CSS3 features,[136] while acting as a container for a backwards-compatible "MOBI content document.[137][138]

In August 2015, all the Kindle e-readers released within the previous two years were updated with a new typesetting and layout engine that adds "hyphens, "kerning and "ligatures to the text; e-books that support this engine require the use of the "Kindle Format 10" (KFX) file format.[139] E-books that support the enhanced typesetting format are indicated in the ebook's description.

Format support by device[edit]

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.[26] The Kindle 1 could not read PDF files, but Amazon provides experimental conversion to the native AZW format,[140] with the caveat that not all PDFs may format correctly.[141] 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, Touch, Paperwhite (1st, 2nd & 3rd generations), Voyage and Oasis 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.[142] The seventh generation Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd & 3rd generations), Voyage and Oasis can display KFX files natively.

Send-to-Kindle service[edit]

Amazon offers an email-based service, called Send-to-Kindle, that will convert "HTML pages, "Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX) documents, and will also convert "GIF, "PNG, and "BMP graphics to a Kindle-formatted file to the device sent via 3G for $0.15 per MB or via Wi-Fi for free.[143] In addition, this service can send unprotected "MOBI files to a user's Kindle. These services can be accessed by all Kindle hardware devices, iOS devices running Kindle app version 2.9 or greater, and Android devices running Kindle app version 3.5 or greater.[144]

Multiple device abilities and organization[edit]

An e-book may be downloaded from Amazon to several devices at the same time, as long as the devices are 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 publisher. When a limit is reached, the user must remove the e-book from some device[145] or unregister a device containing the e-book[146] in order to add the e-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 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. There is no option to organize by series or series order, as the AZW format does not possess the necessary metadata fields.

Annotations[edit]

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.[147] 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.

X-Ray[edit]

X-Ray (Amazon Kindle)

X-Ray is a reference tool that is incorporated in Kindle Touch and later devices, the Fire tablets, the Kindle app for mobile platforms and "Fire TV. X-Ray lets users explore in more depth the contents of a book, by accessing pre-loaded files with relevant information, such as the most common characters, locations, themes, or ideas.[148]

Textbook rentals[edit]

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.[149]

Collection of user reading data[edit]

Kindle devices may report information about their users' reading data that includes the last page read, how long each e-book was opened, annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings to Amazon.[150] The Kindle stores this information on all Amazon e-books but it is unclear if this data is stored for non-Amazon e-books.[151] 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.[152]

Kindle development kit and active content[edit]

On January 21, 2010, Amazon announced the release of its Kindle Development Kit (KDK).[153] 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 gives sample code, documentation and a Kindle Simulator together with a new revenue sharing model for developers.[154] The KDK is based on the "Java programming language's "Personal Basis Profile 1.1.2 (JSR 217) flavor of packaged "Java APIs.

As of May 2014 Kindle store offers over 400 items labeled as active content.[155] These items include simple applications and games, including a free set provided by Amazon Digital Services.[156] As of 2014, active content is only available to users with a US billing address.

In October 2014, Amazon announced that the Voyage and future e-readers would not support active content because most users prefer to use apps on their smartphones and tablets, but the Paperwhite first generation and earlier Kindles would continue to support active content.[157]

Kindle Direct Publishing[edit]

Kindle Direct Publishing

Concurrently with the release of the first Kindle device, Amazon launched "Kindle Direct Publishing, used by authors and publishers to independently publish their books directly to Kindle and Kindle Apps worldwide.[158] Authors can upload documents in several formats for delivery via Whispernet and charge between $0.99 and $200.00 per download.[158]

In a December 5, 2009 interview with "The New York Times, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that Amazon keeps 65% of the revenue from all e-book sales for the Kindle.[159] 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.[160] Some of these conditions, such as the inability to opt out of the lendability feature, have "caused some controversy.[161]

Kindle aftermarket[edit]

Working Kindles in good condition can be sold, traded, donated or recycled in the "aftermarket. Due to some Kindle devices being limited to use as reading device and the hassle of reselling Kindles, some people choose to donate their Kindle to schools, developing countries, literacy organizations, or charities.[162] "The Kindle Classroom Project" promotes reading by distributing donated Kindles to schools in need.[163] "Worldreader and 'Develop Africa' ships donated e-readers to schools in developing countries in "Africa for educational use.[164][165] 'Project Hart', a non-profit created in the legacy of "Michael S. Hart, will take donations of e-readers that can be refurbished to give to people in need.[166]

Whether in good condition or not, Kindles should not be disposed of in normal waste due to the device's electronic ink components and batteries. Instead, Kindles at the end of their useful life should be recycled. In the United States, Amazon runs their own program, 'Take Back', which allows owners to print out a prepaid shipping label, which can be used to return the device for disposal.[167]

Criticism[edit]

On July 17, 2009, Amazon withdrew from sale two Kindle titles by "George Orwell, "Animal Farm and "Nineteen Eighty-Four, refunded the purchase price to those who had bought them, and remotely deleted these titles from purchasers' devices after discovering the publisher lacked rights to publish the titles in question.[168] 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.[169][170] 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.[171] Customers and commentators noted the resemblance to the censorship in the novel, and described Amazon's action in "Orwellian terms. An "Ars Technica writer also argued that the deletion violated the Kindle's Terms of Service, which states in part:[172]

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."[173] On July 23, 2009, Amazon CEO "Jeff Bezos posted on Amazon's official Kindle forum an apology about the company's handling of the matter. Bezos said the action was "stupid", and that the executives at Amazon "deserve the criticism received".[174]

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.[170][175] 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...".[176] 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).[177]

On September 4, 2009, Amazon offered affected users a choice between a restoration of the deleted e-books, an Amazon gift certificate or a check for the amount of $30.[178]

In December 2010, three e-books written by 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.[179]

In October 2012, Amazon suspended the account of Linn Nygaard and deleted every e-book on her Kindle; Nygaard is a user in Norway who had purchased her Kindle in the UK.[180] Amazon claimed that she had violated their terms of service but did not specify what she had done wrong.[181] After Nygaard contacted the media, Amazon restored her account and purchased books.[182][183] The event serves to remind Kindle users that even when a user clicks buy, the user only holds a license to view e-books that can be revoked by Amazon at any time for violating the terms of service.[184]

"Richard Stallman criticized the Kindle,[185][186] citing Kindle terms of service which can censor users, which require the user's identification, and that can have a negative effect on independent book distributors; he also cited reported restrictions on Kindle users, as well the ability for Amazon to delete e-books and update software without users' permission.[187][188]

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]

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