Book stores r.i.p. - death by Jeff/Amazon
More than 25 years ago, the birth of one of the world’s largest online mega-shops, Amazon, heralded in a garage in the Seattle area at 10704 NE 28th Street in Bellevue, Washington. While Amazon started as a small online bookstore, in the coming years, it developed into an internationally renowned online retailer with more than 300 million users worldwide.
Cadabra or Amazon
After all, the idea for Amazon got born as early as 1994. The computer scientist Jeff Bezos, just 30 years old, decided to create a sales platform on the Internet – hence, initially for books, as the margin was correct and easy to ship.
Consequently, Bezos quit his job in New York on Wall Street at D.E. Shaw, a hedge-fund investing in the rapidly growing internet sector, before being a product manager at Banker’s Trust, now part of Deutsche Bank. In 1994, he set up his new office nearby Seattle to run his newly founded online platform. While he initially called it Cadabra, he finally decided to name the company Amazon – after a call to his lawyer who misheard it as “cadaver”.
After its successful start, Amazon was indeed able to maintain its successful course.
About a year after the first book sale, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by Douglas Hofstadter from the company achieved a turnover of around 16 million dollars. In 1997, following a successful IPO (lead by Frank Quattrone), the results increased to a total of almost 150 million dollars.
Speaking about this, the company now had enough capital for further expansion. For example, Bezos began building the first international websites in 1998 and making Amazon accessible in more and more markets.
Amazon's First Homepage
Long before Amazon became a platform to sell virtually everything, Amazon.com was a pure bookseller. The initial homepage was fundamental without today’s obsessively considered menus, navigation bars, images and search algorithms. The screen capture from a month after its launch in 1995 is a relic from the early days of web design.
Also quite interesting Amazon’s first company logo on the upper left corner. Very much different from today’s slick logo.
Amazon Logo History
The Logo had three main iterations over the years. Jeff Bezos called Turner Duckworth to create a logo for his new company. Initially, the logo was the letter “A” with a river shape inside. The version got replaced in 1997 by a more refined version and the slogan “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore”.
The current logo was introduced in 2000. This logo change happened quickly, and Jeff Bezos attended all logo related meetings and approved everything himself.
The Smile has become later as recognisable as the logo itself. This is an excellent example of why it is crucial to have a logo that appears versatile.
Amazon - Bursting off the dotcom bubble
In the years, the company continued to make sales but also had enormous expenses. As a matter of fact, the bursting of the dotcom bubble around the turn of the millennium was particularly hard on the company – to illustrate, Amazon was on the verge of ruin. In fact, the stock value fell from $100 in 1998 to a low of just $6. Their cash ran short, and investors and creditors became equally nervous. As a result, Bezos was forced to lay off 1,300 people and close a logistics centre.
Nasdaq AMZN (Amazon)
No Profits until 2003
However, the rapidly expanding Bezos group had a hard time on the stock market for a long time due to chronic red figures.
After the massive decline around the turn of the millennium, Amazon finally made profits for the first time in 2002 and full-year profit in 2003.
In 2003, Sales that were better than expected, buoyed by a falling dollar that helped lift results overseas, led Amazon.com to earn $73 million in the fourth quarter, giving its first full-year profit.
Finally, Bezos managed to deliver reliable profits, and Amazon became Wall Street’s darling.
Amazon Back on Track
As mentioned before, Amazon had to pull itself out of the deep again; by way of contrast, Bezos also wanted to go beyond selling books. Hence, he decided to open the Amazon sales platform to other online merchants – for a fee, of course.
Thanks to the flourishing Internet trade and booming cloud services, as a result, the surplus grew year on year.
Amazon Expansion, Prime and Products
Other product segments quickly followed the books division. Furthermore, the integrated sales platforms “Marketplace” and “z-Shops” soon offered an almost unlimited portfolio.
Over time, Amazon’s own brands, such as the eBook brand “Kindle” (2007), were added. A few years later, in 2011, Amazon sold more electronic than printed books for the first time – the world of books changed again.
Aligned with its expansion, the company also made steady investments in further developing customer-friendly Internet technologies. Among other things, it patented the famous 1-Click ordering process and developed the “Recommendation Engine”.
Besides, Bezos acquired other companies such as:
- the online shoe shop Zappos for around 850 million dollars
- the warehouse automation provider Kiva Systems for 775 million dollars
- and various competitors in the book and publishing business.
Even the well known Washington Post newspaper got bought by Bezos for 250 million dollars in August 2013.
Amazon Prime Day
The Prime Day was more significant than their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. While the 2018 Prime Day sales stretched to 36 hours, the 2019 Prime Days ran for a total of 48 hours, with more deals than ever.
The company said that the 2019 Prime Day was the largest shopping event in its history. Numbers are impressive: 100,000 Notebooks, 200,000 Televisions, 300,000 Headphones and more than 1 million toys have been sold.
However, with total transaction deals of 7.16 billion US-Dollars and 175 million items, Prime Day is still far away from AliExpress Singles Day with 30.8 billion US-Dollars in sales.
Top 5 Deals Amazon Prime Day 2019
Echo Alexa by Amazon
One of the latest significant innovations is certainly Amazon Echo in 2015, also known as Alexa. Amazon Echo connects to the cloud-based Alexa Voice Service to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, check calendars, weather, traffic and sports results. You can ask questions, manage to-do and shopping lists, operate compatible smart home devices and more.
Just ask Alexa for a song, artist or genre from Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn and more. With Multiroom Music, you can play music on your Echo devices in different rooms (Bluetooth is not supported). The echo can also play audiobooks, radio stations, news and more.
We love Alexa, which we got using the Netgear Orbi Mesh Voice setup.
Free Kindle Books
Finding free Kindle books is not easy unless you know where to look. There are supposedly many places where you can find them, but we found a way to select them directly on Amazon.com and rely solely on this source.
Are you interested in free Kindle eBooks? Download them here.
Despite all these successes, there are also some shadows hovering over Amazon. Headlines with the keywords temporary work, poor pay, exploitation of employees and warnings made the rounds. Bezos’s divorce did undoubtedly not help since his total wealth (157 billion, #1 Forbes List) became a public figure.
Despite all criticism, Amazon developed itself, during the last 25 years, into probably the largest online retailer with worldwide websites.
Whether hardware, food, books, clothing, electronics or other products – Amazon offers almost everything, and they gained 100% of trust over the year.
We have never revisited a brick-and-mortar book store. Also, the company is always able to attract attention to innovations. We are convinced of Amazon and regularly use book mail order, Audible, Christmas bulk orders and Kindle books. However, for music, we still go with Spotify and for movies with Netflix.