The Amazon Kindle creators Jeff Bezos and Gregg Zehr have been named as 2011's winners in the category of consumer-product innovation by The Economist.
The weekly magazine's Innovation Awards, now in their tenth year, recognises the Kindle and its creators because of the role they have played in popularising e-books and e-readers.
Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist and chairman of the panel of 29 judges, said: “Jeff Bezos and Gregg Zehr turned an obscure product category into a huge new industry with their innovations in business model and hardware design. E-books now outsell paperbacks in America, and the Kindle accounted for 40% of e-readers sold in 2010. They are worthy recipients of our consumer-product innovation award.”
The Kindle was not the first e-reader, but is widely regarded as the most successful, although Amazon will not reveal Kindle sales figures. Wireless downloads over the cellular network take less than a minute and are free to the end user.
Previous winners of the Economist Innovation Awards include Steve Jobs for the iPhone and App Store, Steve Sasson for the development of the digital camera, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley for creating YouTube and Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo for the architecture of the electronic gaming industry.
On the night, the Economist’s Editor-in-Chief, John Micklethwait, will announce the winner of a special Anniversary Award for the innovator of the decade, as chosen by Economist readers from previous winners of the Innovation Awards. Voting for this awards is open up until end of business on Friday, October 14th 2011.