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The coming of the Kindle

By Tom Chatfield   September 2009

The best brands become icons: the iPod for the noughties; the VW Beetle for the 1960s; Chanel in the 1920s. With the next decade fast approaching, though, the book trade has been lumbered with something more sinister: a brand that may live up to its name by sending the old order up in smoke. It’s estimated that 10m Americans now own or intend to purchase a Kindle e-book reader from Amazon, with the product likely to launch globally in 2010. The word “kindle” itself means to set alight, taken from the Old Norse kynda, and features in Voltaire’s praise of…

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