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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate.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.

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

In 2006, the company launched , a suite of cloud-based products used in the operation of websites and web applications. , which sells computing power, and , 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 off its servers in late 2010.

In 2007, Amazon announced the , 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 . Amazon released a in 2011, which was in 2012.

In 2011, Amazon released the , 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, .

The Kindle Store sells subscriptions to a number of leading and . Several news publishers have 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 , a browser-based app that allows access to the Kindle store.

The Kindle has been a major driver of ebook sales, which in the United States in early 2011. It has been criticized for , undercutting its competitors and .

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 and , aim to produce Kindle Singles or ebooks in similar formats for sale.

Amazon also , both in print and via ebooks. It began managing magazine subscriptions in 2013 through a .

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Primary author: Joshua Benton. Main text last updated: October 2, 2013.
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The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism is a nonprofit investigative news organization affiliated with the University of Iowa. The center was launched in spring 2010 by University of Iowa professor Stephen Berry and doctoral student Robert Gutsche Jr. It was initially staffed by students and interns working for free, though its leaders have plans…

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