Amazon’s Kindle turns 10: have ebooks clicked with you yet?
“George W Bush was in the White House, Chris Brown was topping the Billboard chart and Jeff Bezos … well, on 19 November 2007, Jeff Bezos was doing ‘the most important thing we’ve ever done’ and launching the Amazon Kindle.
The first Kindles were chunky things about the same size as a paperback, weighing a smidgeon less than 300g. They had wonky little keyboards and a little wheel for scrolling up and down a grey and black screen. But Bezos was never aiming for a flashy design. Speaking at the launch in New York, he said that all he wanted was a device that could ‘disappear’.
‘All of us readers know that flow state when we read,’ Bezos explained. ‘We don’t think about the glue, the paper, the stitching – all of that goes away. All that remains is the author’s world, and we flow right into that.’
But the Kindle was never only a device for reading, it was also a device for selling books. As the messy business of glue, paper and stitching faded away, there on your grey and black screen was a bookshop already primed with details of your credit card.
‘Instead of shopping on your PC,’ Bezos explained, ‘you shop on the device … And guess what? [Books] are all $9.99. And guess what? They all get delivered wirelessly in less than minute.'”