The Amazon Kindle e-reader was named this way in the mid-2000s. But you may not know the reasons why it was called this.
Amazon has been showering the digital book market with its Kindle e-readers for more than ten years. In addition to the main range, the e-commerce giant has offered over the years many variations of its product: DX, Touch, Paperwhite, Voyage or even Oasis. And like many tech products and services, the choice of the Kindle name owes nothing to chance.
It is in an old blog post, dating from 2008, that the story of the name of the Kindle is told. The author, Steven Heller, explains that he learned from Karen Hibma, wife of American designer Michael Cronan, how the latter was contacted by an Amazon subsidiary to think about how to name a new line. of products. It was about three years before the blog post appeared.
A name also inspired by a fake quote?
According to Karen Hibma, certain guidelines had been given to Michael Cronan: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, “ wanted to talk about the future of reading, but in a modest way, without bluster “. There was no question of going for a title that was too “techie”, without being banal. ” We wanted it to be memorable and to have meaning in many forms of expression. She continued.
” Kindle means to light up or begin to burn, to excite or be stimulated, or to become luminous. The roots of the word come from Old Norse kyndill, which means candle She said, noting that the term is deeply rooted in literature. Stranger, it is also evoked a hypothetical quote from Voltaire, but of which we do not find any clear trace on the Internet.
This one claims that Voltaire would have written: ” The instruction that we find in books is like fire. We go get it from our neighbors, we light it at home, we communicate it to others and it becomes everyone’s property “. In any case, Karen Hibma mentions this quote as one of the reasons that led Michael Cronan to choose this name.
However, by wanting to find the exact quotation in French and not a simple translation from English, we find extracts from Voltaire’s works relating to instruction and books, but nothing that does not correspond perfectly to the quotation. There are versions in French which run on the Internet, but without clear information on their origin, which could mean that it would be an apocryphal quote.