about  /   archives  /   contact  /   subscribe  /   twitter    
Share this entry
Make this entry better

What are we missing? Is there a key link we skipped, or a part of the story we got wrong?

Let us know — we’re counting on you to help Encyclo get better.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Key links:
Primary website:
amazon.com
Primary Twitter:
@amazon

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Amazon.com is the largest Internet retailer in the United States and one of the largest retailers of any kind in the world. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994, Amazon began as a bookseller but quickly branched out into many other areas.

In 2006, the company launched Amazon Web Services, a suite of cloud-based products used in the operation of websites and web applications. Amazon EC2, which sells computing power, and Amazon S3, which sells web server space, are both popular among news organizations and other companies. Some have expressed concern that Amazon’s success in the space could give it too much power, such as when Amazon bounced WikiLeaks off its servers in late 2010.

In 2007, Amazon announced the Kindle, its ebook reader, which has become the market leader among dedicated e-readers. Priced originally at $399, the Kindle has gone through three major versions, with the price dropping to $79. Amazon released a touch-screen edition of the Kindle in 2011, which was superseded by the Kindle Paperwhite in 2012.

In 2011, Amazon released the Kindle Fire, a touch-screen tablet computer that runs on Google’s Android system. The Fire was initially priced at $199 and was launched along with its own web browser, Silk.

The Kindle Store sells subscriptions to a number of leading newspapers and magazines. Several news publishers have criticized Amazon for the size of the cut it takes from Kindle subscription revenue. Unlike Kindle ebooks, Kindle subscriptions are not viewable on other devices with Kindle apps, like the iPhone or iPad. In August 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Cloud Reader, a browser-based app that allows access to the Kindle store.

The Kindle has been a major driver of ebook sales, which passed paperback sales in the United States in early 2011. It has been criticized for setting ebook prices too low, undercutting its competitors and hurting publishers.

A number of news organizations have used the platform to publish ebooks based on their reporting. In January 2011, Amazon launched Kindle Singles, a section of the Kindle Store dedicated to article-length pieces, many of them original journalism and some produced by news organizations. A number of startups, including The Atavist and Byliner, aim to produce Kindle Singles or ebooks in similar formats for sale.

Amazon also publishes its own books, both in print and via ebooks. It began managing magazine subscriptions in 2013 through a partnership with Conde Nast.

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
Sept. 14, 2020 / Joshua Benton
A new Apple News+ bundle could be coming as soon as Tuesday — but don’t look for it to be a gamechanger — Apple News — which comes pre-installed on every iPhone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia — is a pretty useful source of readership and traffic for a lot of news organizations. But Apple News+ — its $10/month...
May 12, 2020 / Sarah Scire
Bookshop, a new startup, is offering publications bigger kickbacks than Amazon (and the thrill of battling Bezos) — The Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire. A David taking on Goliath. Any way you want to put it, the new ecommerce site Bookshop has attracted a lot of attention for challenging Amazon on its original turf. (What, di...
March 18, 2020 / Joshua Benton
The L.A. Times uses its physician owner to help explain the science behind the coronavirus — It’s not unusual for newspaper owners to have, well, other interests. In the old days of family ownership, it was common for the publisher’s kid to go off to have a different career for a few years before Pop...
Jan. 24, 2020 / Ken Doctor
Newsonomics: Here are 20 epiphanies for the news business of the 2020s — It is the best of times for The New York Times — and likely the worst of times for all the local newspapers with Times (or Gazette or Sun or Telegram or Journal) in their nameplates across the land. When I spoke at sta...
Oct. 10, 2019 / Mike Ananny
Tech platforms are where public life is increasingly constructed, and their motivations are far from neutral — As background, I’m a professor of communication and journalism, which means I study how people make meaning through media. This is broad, but this focus on meaning and media poses an intellectual challenge that is ...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Joshua Benton. Main text last updated: October 2, 2013.
Make this entry better
How could this entry improve? What's missing, unclear, or wrong?
Name (optional)
Email (optional)
Investigative Reporting Workshop logo

The Investigative Reporting Workshop is a professional journalism center at American University’s School of Communication. The Workshop conducts multimedia investigative reporting projects in partnership with major news outlets, such as msnbc.com, Frontline, and the McClatchy newspapers. It was created in 2008 by Charles Lewis, who also founded the Center for Public Integrity.

Put Encyclo on your site
Embed this Encyclo entry in your blog or webpage by copying this code into your HTML:

Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
Some rights reserved. Copyright information »