NewSwirl is a website dedicated to entertainment gadgets like e-readers and tablets, and multimedia content: text and images, audio and video, and interactive content.

The history of electronic book readers goes back to around 1998, when the first commercially profitable reader – the Rocket eBook and a few others were introduced. Unfortunately back then these devices did not gain widespread acceptance. Electronic paper was developed in 1997 – this fascinating technology allows display to reflect light similarly to paper, without the need for a backlight.

One of the first popular e-readers was the Sony Reader released in 2006. The next year, in 2007 it was followed by the Amazon Kindle which sold out within under 6 hours upon its release. That is how 9 years ago the story of the current market leader – Amazon Kindle began.

Other companies started to enter the race, including the Barnes and Noble with the Nook, Kobo Inc. with the Kobo, Icarus (Netherlands), Bookeen (France), Pocketbook (Eastern Europe and Russia) and Onyx Books (China), and dozens of other companies. Everybody wanted a piece of the new wonderful pie.

Tracking the tablet development history, the big breakthrough happened in the year 2010, when Apple Inc. launched the first commercially profitable tablet computer called the iPad. Just 2 years later the market was flooded with dozens of models of tablets by different companies, which were selling at a lower price than the oPad.

To this day we have a number of different e-readers by different companies that we can compare before purchasing one that meets our needs. Same is true for purchasing a tablet computer. However, some of the companies stand out among their competition, such as Apple for all purpose tablet computers, Amazon for e-readers and media tablets, and Samsung for smartphones.

Talking about Amazon.com, we need to give lots of praise to the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Jeffrey Preston “Jeff” Bezos was born in 1964 and is a very successful American technology interpreter and investor. In the beginning of 2016 Jeff’s personal wealth was estimated at over 59 billion dollars. This places him at number 4 on the Forbes billionaire list.

Bezos founded Amazon in 1994. Besides this company he is also interested in other online companies, and the he has funded at least partly: Airbnb, Twitter, Stack Exchange and many other famous online companies.

Amazon was first founded as an Internet bookstore, and later expanded to also selling DVDs, CDs, videos, MP3s, software, games, electronics, clothing, furniture, food, jewelry and toys. The company has also become a successful cloud computing provider. Besides the United States, Amazon also has over a dozen separate retail websites for different countries: UK and Ireland, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Netherlands, China, India and Mexico.

In 2015 Amazon even surpassed Walmart as the most valuable store in the US by market capitalization.

As already mentioned Amazon has become the leader in producing electronic book readers and media tablets at the best value-to-price ratio. The highest rated e-readers by this company in 2016 are the Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and Kindle Oasis. The highest rated media tablets are the Amazon Fire HD and HDX.

Not only does Amazon manufacture and sell the devices themselves, but it also provides an immersive selection of content for the consumption on these devices, including ebooks, movies, videos, music, apps, audio books and more.

Amazon Kindle ebook readers allow users to browse, purchase, download and read electronic books, magazines, newspapers and other digital media offered at the Kindle store. The media can also be downloaded from other sources in a variety of formats. These devices feature eink electronic paper displays that do not reflect or glare, unlike LCD tablets. Currently the US Amazon store has over 4 million ebooks available.

The other type of popular devices for media consumption manufactured by Amazon are Fire tablets. These devices were first released at the end of 2011, and have progressed and improved immensely by now.

Amazon Fire tablets operate on a custom version of Google Android OS called – Fire OS. Unlike regular Android tablets where you can download apps from the Google Play store, Amazon Fire tablets support the download of applications from the Amazon Appstore.

To clarify, Android is a mobile OS (operating system) that is currently developed by Google but initially was created by Android Inc., which was purchased by Google in 2005. Android is based on the Linux Kernel. This OS was designed primarily for touch screen devices, including phones and tablets. User interface in Android OS is based on using touch gestures, such as tapping, swiping and pinching to manipulate the device, along with a virtual keyboard. As of now the Google Play Store has over a million apps, while the Amazon app store has a bit under 400,000 apps in total.

The media content for Amazon Kindle ereaders and Fire tablets is available through the Kindle store, Amazon Appstore, and different subscription programs, such as Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon Prime is a subscription that allows subscribers to have eligible products from Amazon.com delivered for free with next day free delivery. Recently Amazon has also introduced Amazon Prime Now, a program where you can have eligible products delivered to you within 1 hour of purchase. There are other perks to Amazon Prime, including a selection of free movies and videos. You also get to read one free eBook a month with this subscription through a system called Amazon Kindle Owner’s Library. Amazon Prime comes with 1 month free trial and costs $99 a year. You can choose from over a million titles, but you will not find book from the big publishers such as the Random House, Simon and Schuster and others. Thus, will not find any bestsellers with the exception of just a few through the KOLL.

In the middle of 2014 Amazon launched another subscription service called the Kindle Unlimited. As of 2016 this service incurs a monthly fee of $9.99 and has over one million titles available in the catalogue, including over 200,000 titles in different languages other than English. This program allows subscribers to read an unlimited amount of books per month, but there are some limitations, such as you can only have 5 titles consequently.

If you own an Amazon Fire tablet the best way to read ebooks from any Amazon source is to install a Kindle reading app onto your tablet. There are versions of this app available for other devices including Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac.

When you purchase media from Amazon, it is forever stored in Amazon’s cloud, i.e. in your Amazon account. Therefore even if you lose your electronic book reader or tablet, you will still be able to retrieve the media that you purchased from Amazon. To clarify: cloud is a term used to describe any type of web based service that provides space for storage of electronic content on a remote server. The primary use of Cloud accounts/drives is to store and backup digital files.

There are many other sources to get free and paid books to read on your device. The free ebook sources include: Project Gutenberg, Google Play Books, Wikisource, Open library and others. You can also borrow ebooks from your local library to read on your Kindle or Fire. Paid sources include: the Barnes and Noble store, Kobo book store, Books on Board and others. When downloading ebooks from sources other than Amazon you need to remember that Amazon’s devices support only certain file formats and others need to be converted in order to be read on a Kindle of Fire device.

Once you choose an eReader or tablet, the next step is to choose some sort of protection for it, such as a cover/case/sleeve, screen film and/or extended warranty.

We discuss all about ereaders, media tablets, ebooks, and related subjects on NewSwirl.com so please feel free to browse our categories above: ereaders, books, tablets, news, tips, reading, writing and more. Thank you for your visit and we hope you enjoy NewSwirl.com