What Is Amazon?

What Is Amazon?

The dictionary definition for Amazon goes something like this — Amazon is a multinational electronic commerce corporation. That’s a little too dry for us here at AskDeb. We like to think of Amazon as a giant bookstore on the Internet. Sure, you can buy lots of stuff other than books, but most people are familiar with Amazon first and foremost as a retailer of books.

Though they operate multinationally, Amazon.com is based in America. In fact, Amazon.com is still America’s largest and most successful online retailer. Amazon is such a hugely successful entity that it does at least three times as much business as the next online American retailer, Staples. Amazon (operating at the URL Amazon.com) sells everything from books and music to movies, eBook readers, clothes, furniture, toys, food . . . the list goes on and on.

Amazon: A Brief History

What Is Amazon?

Businessman Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, in the early days of the Internet. Of course, when he created the company it was called Cadabra — as in the latter part of the magic phrase Abra-cadabra — but when Bezos realized that people thought he was saying “cadaver” (another word for “dead body”) he quickly changed it to Amazon.

Why did he pick “Amazon?”

Multiple reasons. For starters, Amazon starts with “A”, placing it near the beginning of alphabetical lists. This is an old phone book trick used by companies to make sure they are at the head of the yellow pages list. It is common to see store names like AAA Bicycle Repair or AAAA Ice Cream Shop. Another reason Bezos chose “Amazon” is because the Amazon river is the largest in the world, giving his business a very “big” feeling name.

What began as a smallish online bookstore was quickly diversified to include music downloads, eBooks, and eventually the wide range of products you find at Amazon.com today.

Amazon now operates all over the world, with companion websites all over Europe and Asia. Amazon is now the most popular music and book retailer in the UK, and ranks third in Asia as well.

Amazon Profits

For a company founded out of frustration with Bezos’ missing out on the Internet stock boom, Amazon has done very well for itself. Bezos knew that most book stores could store maybe 200,000 titles, if they had a huge inventory and warehouse. He knew he could do better selling online, without the need for a brick-and-mortar retail space. Since its founding in the mid-90s, Amazon’s stock has split four times, and for a company that didn’t plan to turn a profit for “four or five years”, turning around hundreds of millions of dollars in profit a year is decent.

Even though Amazon didn’t start making money until 2001 (much longer than the four or five years initially predicted by Bezos), they are regularly earning a profit, even in an economic downtime.

Companies Absorbed by Amazon

Like many other online companies, Amazon is in the business of swallowing up smaller competitors to diversify their business. Here’s a list of entities that Amazon bowled over on its way to the top:

  • Bookpages.co.uk
  • Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
  • PlanetAll
  • Junglee.com
  • Alexa Internet
  • Accept.com
  • Exchange.com
  • CD Now
  • Joyo.com
  • BookSurge
  • Mobipocket.com
  • CustomFlix
  • Shopbop
  • dpreview.com
  • Brilliance Audio
  • Audible.com
  • Fabric.com
  • Box Office Mojo
  • AbeBooks
  • Shelfari
  • Bookfinder.com
  • Gojaba.com
  • Reflexive Entertainment
  • Zappos
  • Touchco
  • Woot

Amazon Coupons

One of the best things about buying from Amazon is the huge number of coupons available. Even though Amazon’s prices are competitive, using any of the massive number of Amazon coupons to be found on the Web.

You can almost always find a free shipping coupon or discount code. Our favorite spots to find Amazon coupons are at TechBargains.com and the venerable RetailMeNot.com. Right now at TechBargains, there’s nearly two dozen different coupons for Amazon.com including free “super saver” shipping (on orders over $25) and big “percent off” deals on select purchaes. RetailMeNot has more specialized Amazon coupons, like discounts on specific items or brands.

There are so many places to find Amazon.com coupons there’s no reason to pay full price.

According to their website, Amazon’s vision is “to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online..” As they increase their holdings and continue to diversify their retail offerings, they are coming closer and closer to fulfilling that goal.

See Also:

  1. How Does the Amazon Kindle Work?
  2. How Does the Amazon Kindle 2 Work?
  3. Amazon Kindle Cases and Covers
  4. Barnes and Noble Nook
  5. The Sony Portable Reader