I love this description of Amazon by Matthew Yglesias:
That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don’t even buy anything from Amazon.
I’ve been drinking a bit (at which point brevity becomes the better part of valor), so I won’t add much commentary here, except to say that, in that last sentence above, the word ‘benefiting’ should be in quotation marks.
If I didn’t already hate Amazon, I’d feel sorry for them. The US Congress should’ve done this to that company and its executive leadership years ago.
Pay no attention to the headline of their press release, Amazon had a bad quarter. They’ve been warning about dipping into the red for a few quarters now and have narrowly avoided it each time. No more.
The company lost $274 million on sales of $13.81 billion. Yes, you read that right. Sure, a large part of it was due to the disaster that is the LivingSocial deal (a loss of $169 million as part of a goodwill write-down), but they still lost over $100 million when you take that away.
I’m sure Apple is really regretting not selling the iPad mini at Kindle Fire prices right now.
I hate Amazon.
Me, I’m laughing too hard to even type “Hahahaha!” Though, I do feel bad for Flipboard and the other affected apps and businesses. Just not for Amazon, which I hate. I would also swear that Instagram was not updating for an hour or two this morning, but that’s anecdotal, and I haven’t heard anyone report that they were affected this time, again.
In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. (via How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking | Gadget Lab | Wired.com)
Well, you just have to read this. It’s not just interesting, but it’s actually really important, so we learn some lessons from someone else’s misfortune, instead of waiting for it to happen to each and every one of us.
Top chart: what various e-book retailers pay an author for selling a $10 e-book
Bottom chart: where readers bought their e-books after learning about Amazon keeping more of the author’s money
Great blog post about how much Amazon steals from e-book authors by first taking 30% of the sale price of the book, and then taking 36% of the remainder for ‘delivery fees’ (this is an e-book, remember. Amazon spends maybe 1¢ per file and download, and probably less.
I hate Amazon for many reasons, so this is really just one more on top of that stack. But think about this: For a book that costs $10.00, B&N lets the author keep $6.50. Apple: $7.00. Depending on the distributor, the author selling via pdf can keep $9.25, though the reading experience isn’t as good as the nook or iBooks. But the point is, Amazon gives the author just $5.10 from a $10 book! They keep $3.00 as a fee for stocking and providing a storefront, which is the same as Apple or B&N (although, before Apple came along, Amazon was forcing all publishers to charge one price for all their books, and keeping an astronomical portion for themselves because there was no competition).
And the Department of Justice is suing the publishing houses and Apple for price-fixing? It’s crazy.
Amazon has always been a skeevy behemoth, damaging local economies and communities by not paying sales taxes and driving small neighborhood shops out of business. But this idea of paying customers to go into local shops, scan their prices, and send the prices to Amazon, in return for a fucking $5 coupon, is despicable, even for them.
From Gawker: To get the $5 discount, you’re supposed to use Amazon’s “Price Check” iPhone and Android app to scan in the bar code of an item and then indicate what price the item is being sold at. This gives Amazon valuable intelligence on how various retailers are pricing various items. “We scour online and in-store advertisements from other retailers, every day, year-round,” an Amazon director said on All Things D. But now Amazon won’t have to work so hard in the future, since hordes of consumers will (theoretically) sell out the merchants who pump sales taxes into their localities [and who employ local residents who also spend their money in the community], all to save a measly five bones.