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What in the name of Bezos is going on here?

Amazon's formula for literary success is, as far as I can deduce: Write as many books as you can, and then sell them cheaply and in bulk. Even though none of my books has sold more than 15,000-ish copies, Amazon continues to pay me to write them. The idea is that eventually one of my efforts will hit, and then the backlist will rise. I'm a writer, and my experience with this supposedly evil corporate behemoth has been fantastic.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 10, 2014 - 53 comments

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works)

Why Amazon Has No Profits (And Why It Works) [more inside]
posted by gwint on Sep 5, 2014 - 93 comments

SPOOOOON!

The Tick is a big, blue, nigh-invulnerable, possibly brain-damaged super-hero created by Ben Edlund in 1986. He has appeared in comic books (1988), animated TV (1994), and live action TV (2001). According to The Wrap, Patrick Warburton has worked out a deal with Sony to create a new Tick pilot for Amazon.
posted by Guy Smiley on Aug 31, 2014 - 99 comments

Project Wing

Inside Google's Secret Drone Delivery Programme The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.
posted by modernnomad on Aug 28, 2014 - 37 comments

Big big names on the small small screen

Some pretty big names are wading into the Amazon waters with a group of new instant video pilots debuting today. Marc Forster ("World War Z") directed Hand of God, "a psychological drama about a morally corrupt judge who suffers a breakdown and believes God is compelling him onto a path of vigilante justice"; David Gordon Green ("George Washington," "Pineapple Express") helmed Red Oaks, "a coming-of-age comedy set in the 'go-go' 80s about a college student enjoying a last hurrah before summer comes to an end--and the future begins"; Whit Stillman ("Metropolitan") turns in The Cosmopolitans, "a dramatic comedy about a group of young American expats in Paris searching for love and friendship and an ocean of distance from their past"; and Jay Chandrasekhar ("Super Troopers") is responsible for Really, "a funny, honest, behind-the-curtain look at the psychological and emotional complexities of marriage and the charged dynamics of a tight-knit group of friends grasping on to what's left of their youth." There's also Otto Bathurst's Hysteria, "an investigative thriller about a haunted young doctor who is summoned back to her hometown to investigate an epidemic that may be linked to social media - and her own tragic past." User reviews determine which pilots get picked up for series.
posted by Clustercuss on Aug 28, 2014 - 28 comments

Victor Gama: exploring musical terra incognita with unique instruments

Victor Gama is a self-taught composer and musician who has expanded his process of composing music for himself and others to perform into creating new or modified instruments, and is also involved with traveling to hard to access regions of Angola and recording local music, as documented on his website Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior. You can read an outstanding interview of Victor with Ned Sublette for Afropop, or read more on his creation of instruments as part of his creative process, or you can experience his performances on YouTube and his music on Soundcloud. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 22, 2014 - 3 comments

Amazon vs. Hachette, an Epic Battle Faught with Letters and Addresses

Best Selling author Douglas Preston, along with 907 other authors, signed a letter that ran as a double full-page ad in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times, asking Amazon to stop blocking or delaying the sale of books on their site as a tactic to lower the e-book prices that Amazon is charged by the publisher Hachette.* The three month dispute between Hachette and Amazon previously prompted a response by Amazon’s self-published authors and readers, but it took an odd turn Saturday night when Amazon posted this letter on a site called ReadersUnited.com, after sending it as an email to all of its Kindle Direct Publishing authors. In that letter they include Hachette’s CEO’s email, and have asked their KDP authors to write to Hachette’s CEO telling him what they think about cheaper ebooks. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Aug 11, 2014 - 146 comments

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon announced today a service called Kindle Unlimited, giving access to over 600,000 books and audiobooks (on any device) for $.9.99/month. There are other services similar that exist (like Scribd and Oyster), but Amazon may have an advantage with its audio service. Is it worth it? Perhaps if you are in the habit of buying more than the average five books per year. In any case, there's a 30 day free trial "so you can test your binge-reading capabilities before committing to pay for the service."
posted by SpacemanStix on Jul 18, 2014 - 68 comments

Heart of the Amazon, City of the Forest

For 350 years Manaus has stood sentinal at the dramatic Meeting of the Waters, where the dark Rio Negro and the sandy Rio Solimões (or the Upper Amazon) meet to form the headwaters of the Amazon River. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Jul 10, 2014 - 10 comments

Woot? Meh.

This Internet Millionaire Has a New Deal For You
So there sat Bezos at the breakfast table, faced with a question for which he was apparently unprepared. Many painful seconds passed without an answer. Rutledge let the pause lengthen as long as he could bear it and was just about to tell his host to forget it, when Bezos finally spoke. He looked down at his plate. Bezos had ordered a dish called Tom’s Big Breakfast, a preparation of Mediterranean octopus that includes potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and a poached egg. “You’re the octopus that I’m having for breakfast,” Rutledge remembers Bezos saying. “When I look at the menu, you’re the thing I don’t understand, the thing I’ve never had. I must have the breakfast octopus.” Not until Rutledge had returned to Dallas and related the story to his anxious employees—now Amazon’s employees—did he realize just how absurd that explanation sounded. Before it can be eaten, generally, the breakfast octopus must be killed.

posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 6, 2014 - 38 comments

"Free markets killed capitalism," Or really, the other way around.

Monopoly is back: Barry Lynn on the concentration of American economic power — and how we can restore fairness. Highlights: [more inside]
posted by cthuljew on Jun 30, 2014 - 47 comments

800, give or take

Tony Horwitz: I was a digital bestseller! [NYT] It netted me nothing!
David Gaughran: No, you weren't. (Your publisher duped you and you're stretching the truth.)
Tony Horwitz: OK, fine.

Previously: Amazon v. Hachette. Currently: Salon weighs in. (Gaughran not amused.)
posted by psoas on Jun 26, 2014 - 38 comments

Nice books you got there. It'd be a shame if nobody bought them.

Amazon is deprecating books published by the French publisher Hachette after Hachette refused to drop wholesale prices to Amazon in recent negotiations. Per the NY Times, Amazon is reporting delays on Hachette books, increasing their prices, and suggesting alternatives. Hachette has maintained silence on the issue to their authors but royalty statements and examining their listings on Amazon reveals the truth. Affected authors and their professional associations are speaking out to pressure Amazon. Meanwhile, Amazon is raising the stakes by refusing to accept pre-orders for some books on Hachette imprints, including those by popular authors like Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling).
posted by immlass on May 23, 2014 - 83 comments

HBO content to be available via Amazon Prime

"Amazon and HBO on Wednesday announced a first-of-its-kind deal that will make HBO content available to Amazon Prime subscribers. ... Content covered in the new deal includes The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Treme, Band of Brothers, John Adams, and early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood." No Game of Thrones yet, however. Read more here. And here.
posted by SpacemanStix on Apr 23, 2014 - 158 comments

The joy of seeing your work in print

I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm: A trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Mar 24, 2014 - 46 comments

Netflix vs Hulu Plus vs Amazon Prime vs ...

Lifehacker: "One of the more annoying things about Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon's television streaming libraries is the vast difference between the selection available. It would be almost impossible to get a thorough idea of who has the better library without searching for hundreds of TV shows on each service and comparing them manually. So we did just that." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Mar 4, 2014 - 105 comments

relentless.com

Is Amazon Bad For Books?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 11, 2014 - 91 comments

I could not find a DVD player to play it

Amazon Critics: a glimpse into a future without professional film criticism. [single link tumblr]
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Jan 7, 2014 - 109 comments

The shameless pursuit of discounts

How To Save Money On Amazon With a Fake Baby.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 29, 2013 - 67 comments

Getting Shit Done

A new iteration of the august tradition of fictional Amazon.com product reviews has arrived: The 2-in-1iPotty Activity Seat for iPad. (scroll down for reviews)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 9, 2013 - 36 comments

Bias for Action

I am working at the new Amazon fulfillment center in Haslet, Texas as a seasonal, part-time picker.  It is winter. We aren’t workers here: we are associates. It is a job that I can do hung-over and high and I can make just enough money here to technically have my own apartment, a place to store all my empty beer cans and all my crumpled Taco Cabana wrappers and all my stacks of shitty sci-fi novels. - Fulfillment
posted by Artw on Dec 3, 2013 - 87 comments

Suck it, Amazon and your stupid drones!

Waterstones announces their Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favourite books. Per the FAQ: Q. Isn’t this just what they did in Harry Potter? A: Yes, this is exactly what they did in Harry Potter. You’re asking that as if this is a bad thing
posted by scolbath on Dec 2, 2013 - 27 comments

It’s a symphony of robots now.

Amazon Prime Air. Like Amazon Prime, but with robots. 60 Minutes reports.
posted by un petit cadeau on Dec 1, 2013 - 188 comments

Shocking exposé

Cloud services that power email and other technologies we use each day are themselves massive energy consumers. Gigaom reporters have written a pair of in-depth articles about efforts by Amazon and Apple to build infrastructure and source their own energy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 18, 2013 - 16 comments

On Amazon and world retail domination.

Ex-Amazon employee Eugene Wei on Amazon's "profitless business model" fallacy, and why the claims that Amazon is not profitable are fundamentally wrong. "If Amazon has so many businesses that do make a profit, then why is it still showing quarterly losses, and why has even free cash flow decreased in recent years? Because Amazon has boundless ambition. It wants to eat global retail. This is one area where the press and pundits accept Amazon's statements at face value. Given that giant mission, Amazon has decided to continue to invest to arm itself for a much larger scale of business. If it were purely a software business, its fixed cost investments for this journey would be lower, but the amount of capital required to grow a business that has to ship millions of packages to customers all over the world quickly is something only a handful of companies in the world could even afford." Wei also previously touched on this in Amazon, Apple, and the beauty of low margins.
posted by jaduncan on Oct 27, 2013 - 36 comments

King of diamonds, king of spades! Bezos was king of the kingdom of work

The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything Store, Brad Stone (Businessweek) "Amazon’s culture is notoriously confrontational, and it begins with Bezos, who believes that truth shakes out when ideas and perspectives are banged against each other. Wilke and his colleagues argued that lubricants were available in supermarkets and drugstores and were not that embarrassing. They also pointed out that Amazon generated a significant volume of sales with such e-mails. Bezos didn’t care; no amount of revenue was worth jeopardizing customer trust. “Who in this room needs to get up and shut down the channel?” he snapped." [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Oct 10, 2013 - 48 comments

Andrew Wylie on publishing

"Not very many people read. Most of them drag their knuckles around and quarrel and make money. We’re selling books. It’s a tiny little business. It doesn’t have to be Walmartized." Superagent Andrew Wylie, who represents Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Elmore Leonard, and Philip Roth, among others, talks about the future of publishing, his on-again-off-again relationship with Amazon, and "effete, educated snobs who read," with the New Republic.
posted by escabeche on Oct 7, 2013 - 30 comments

Giant Bomb

PayPal locked down the developer’s account, and said it could only have 50% of the funds. The rest would be released as development continued, based on PayPal’s assessment of the situation. PayPal was, essentially, going to become a producer going forward. Crowdfunding's Secret Enemy is PayPal
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2013 - 73 comments

Good fences make good neighbors

Something or someone is building tiny towers and fences in the Peruvian Amazon. And nobody knows who, or what they are, or why they're being built.
posted by kinnakeet on Sep 6, 2013 - 64 comments

Amazon MatchBook

Amazon has announced that "MatchBook" will launch in October, allowing you to buy Kindle versions of select physical books you've purchased from Amazon, for $2.99 or less. The service will be retroactive to 1995. Reactions from TechHive, Time, and Engadget.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Sep 4, 2013 - 120 comments

Who am I? Am I Yanomami or am I nabuh [Westerner]?

The son of a Yanomami tribeswoman returns to the jungle to look for her. David Good is the child of an American anthropologist and the Yanomami woman he married while doing field research in the remote Amazon rainforest. Raised in the US, he returns to find his mother. [may be nsfw - images of unclothed tribespeople]
posted by desjardins on Aug 29, 2013 - 30 comments

Mark your calendars

Launching my first product : Brand, Make, Sell Sell, Make, Brand
posted by Gyan on Aug 29, 2013 - 31 comments

Amazon’s practices are detrimental to the nation’s economy

President Obama visited an Amazon facility in Tennessee today giving a speech proposing a "grand bargain for middle-class jobs" that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions of dollars in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund projects aimed at creating jobs. The American Booksellers Association is not happy about the visit and called him out on it.
posted by dukes909 on Jul 30, 2013 - 233 comments

"[Amazon's] alleged violation of antitrust laws is not an excuse..."

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote has found that Apple conspired with publishers to fix the prices of ebooks. Publishers Weekly describes Apple's defeat as "a major blow". Writing before the ruling, Roger Parloff at Fortune Tech delved into Apple's "agency model" for ebook sales and noted that Amazon's business model is "the missing piece... of this jigsaw puzzle". Philip Elmer-Dewitt reviews Judge Cote's findings. (Review the decision and other trial information yourself here.) Michael Clarke at Scholarly Kitchen explains why he considers this a loss for the public.
posted by Going To Maine on Jul 11, 2013 - 49 comments

All the world is waiting for you, and the power you possess...

The Problem with Wonder Woman - An iconic DC superhero on the level of Batman and Superman, her potential remains competitively untapped. Can Grant Morrison And Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One Help? Or is Perez’ Wonder Woman the Gold standard?
posted by Artw on Jun 28, 2013 - 191 comments

It's never crowded along the extra mile.

The last mile of logistics in getting food from the warehouse into the consumer's house is getting exciting. Schwan's has a very large delivery area for quite awhile, but only with frozen food. Amazon Fresh has expanded to L.A. Safeway is expanding quickly too. Peapod has been in this space for awhile but hasn't expanded very far. But sometimes, you just need a Whopper delivered. Daily milk delivery doesn't seem to be on the radar.
posted by Brent Parker on Jun 12, 2013 - 64 comments

Todd Vanderwerff was trolling us with the B grade because B is for Bluth

Embrace the mystery: Is repeat viewing the best way to approach complex TV?
posted by mysticreferee on Jun 6, 2013 - 31 comments

So to recap, Amazon just MONETIZED FREAKING FANFIC.

Amazon introduces Kindle Worlds, allowing fanfic authors to profit from works based on settings and characters not their own. Kindle Worlds is set to roll out this summer. Don't dust off your classic Kirk/Spock opus just yet, though - at this point they're only working with properties owned by Warner Brothers' Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries). [more inside]
posted by robocop is bleeding on May 22, 2013 - 135 comments

The Lost Tribes of the Amazon

Franco believes that governments must increase efforts to preserve indigenous cultures. “The Indians represent a special culture, and resistance to the world,” argues the historian, who has spent three decades researching isolated tribes in Colombia. Martínez says that the Indians have a unique view of the cosmos, stressing “the unity of human beings with nature, the interconnectedness of all things.” It is a philosophy that makes them natural environmentalists, since damage to the forest or to members of one tribe, the Indians believe, can reverberate across society and history with lasting consequences. “They are protecting the jungle by chasing off gold miners and whoever else goes in there,” Franco says. He adds: “We must respect their decision not to be our friends—even to hate us.”
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 13, 2013 - 21 comments

For eccentric book-lovers with beards and cats

"..it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon's first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Apr 9, 2013 - 90 comments

"The only one used on official world tournaments. Don't settle for less"

"It's become a tradition among Amazon users: Find the stupidest products for sale on the site, and write sarcastically glowing reviews of them. The examples are legendary: the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt, of course, and also Bic for Her pens. Now, the latest idiotic product to get a ceremonial roasting is the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, a little plastic gizmo that lets you "slice an entire banana with one quick motion." Universally panned as something completely unnecessary, the product is thus being faux-celebrated as a milestone of human invention." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 5, 2013 - 99 comments

Amazon buys Goodreads

The social book site Goodreads has been acquired by Amazon. Many members are upset and uncertain what this means for site which has relied on members to do the work of building and maintaining their database. Amazon already owns Shelfari and has a 40% stake in LibraryThing, two competing sites.
posted by bongo_x on Mar 28, 2013 - 116 comments

"This is the Amazon as one imagines it as a child"

"Hi, my name is Paul Rosolie. I'm a naturalist based out of southern Peru and today I'm headed into the jungle to show you a place that very few people have gotten to see. I'm in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, this is the far western Amazon and some of the deepest jungle on earth."
posted by stbalbach on Feb 20, 2013 - 10 comments

A Scientist at War With His Tribe

How Napoleon Chagnon Became Our Most Controversial Anthropologist. "Jaguars and anacondas are impressive adversaries — 'Indiana Jones had nothing on me,' Napoleon Chagnon says — but his staunchest foes are other anthropologists."
posted by homunculus on Feb 13, 2013 - 30 comments

Retweet to add additional diamonds to your shopping basket

Twitter is experimenting with online shopping: "American Express card holders who connect their card numbers to their Twitter accounts can post on Twitter to trigger a purchase of select products, including discounted American Express gift cards, Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon.com Inc. and jewelry from designer Donna Karan. The program will roll out over the next few days." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 12, 2013 - 65 comments

In the future, all Space Marines will be Games Workshop

Last December Amazon blocked sales of the Ebook Spots the Space Marine by author M.C.A. Hogarth after a notice from gaming industry powerhouse Games Workshop that they had trademarked the phrase "Space Marine" and that Hogarth, and anyone else who uses it, is infringing. GW brought this complaint based on "Class 16" of their European tradmark. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Feb 7, 2013 - 77 comments

Pristine Condition! Super Fast Shipping! Five Stars!

Amazon contemplating the used ebook market. But will they still have used book coffee rings on the pages? [more inside]
posted by weeyin on Feb 7, 2013 - 69 comments

Nothing happens if you respect the snake

A ten-day trip to the Mato Grosso do Sul to take pictures of anacondas worked out quite well for nature photographer Franco Banfi. (Videos from a similar expedition in 2010.)
posted by rewil on Jan 31, 2013 - 8 comments

Add to cart for pricing information

Philippe Dubost's Resume
posted by cjorgensen on Jan 24, 2013 - 31 comments

Just when you thought it was safe to avoid Korn

Amazon just announced AutoRip, a service to provide MP3 versions of any song you buy on CD from their store. That's all well and good, but the kicker is that "Amazon is retroactively giving free MP3s to any customer who has purchased an AutoRip compatible CD since its Music Store first opened in 1998". Looks like I'll be knee deep in Blink 182, Cake, and The Spin Doctors again.
posted by mathowie on Jan 10, 2013 - 137 comments

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