You might have seen Stephen Colbert’s take on the Amazon vs. Hachette debacle, or you might have seen articles floating around Facebook, or friends declaring that they’re not buying books from Amazon anymore. What’s the big deal, right?
Here’s what’s happening: Hachette is a gigantic publisher — right up there with Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon and Schuster — and it owns a huge imprint, Little Brown and Company. Amazon wanted to slash prices on books published by Hachette and its imprints, and Hachette refused to undersell its product, so Amazon resorted to bullying tactics: removing “Buy” buttons from Hachette book pages, suggesting that customers buy the books from used book stores (authors receive no royalties from used books), enlarging links to similar titles from different publishers, delaying shipments by 3-4 weeks, or claiming not to be able to sell titles at all — anything to decrease the sales of Hachette titles until Hachette caves. Keep reading »
The reviews on Amazon are often a treasure trove of hilarity, but occasionally they are both amusing and educational. For example, I had no idea until today that if I were to eat a handful of Haribo sugarless gummy bears, I could expect my insides to turn into hot lava. According to the hundreds of reviews for the candy on Amazon, these gummy bears are incredibly tasty going in and incredibly painful coming out. As I’m a journalist, I plan on finding and ingesting these bears myself to confirm the validity of the reviews. I have a very strong and regular constitution, so if these Haribo sugarless gummies manage to give me “projectile diarrhea so foul and so watery it could have gone through … nylons,” as one reviewer described, you’ll know they’re to be avoided. I’ll report back! In the meantime, check out some more of the hilarious reviews of these unintentional laxatives after the jump! [Amazon via Slightly Viral] Keep reading »
Sorry, Amazon: your robot drone delivery program just got one-upped, in terms of both efficiency and novelty. The future of delivery will not be dependent on technology, but rather winged animals — that is, if one British book retail giant has any say in it. Waterstones has trounced Amazon’s plans (which, really, now seem quaint in comparison) by announcing the introduction of their O.W.L.S., or Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service. A fleet of specially trained owls will be ordained with the task of delivering your Waterstones package within 30 minutes. Dispiritingly, this is only proposed as a future plan: as the bookseller’s appropriately named press manager, Jon Owls, reasons, “It takes ages to train owls to do anything, and we only just thought of it this morning.” [Refinery29]
Joy Covey, the former CFO of Amazon.com and a pioneering woman in tech, died suddenly in a bicycle accident yesterday in San Mateo County, California, at age 50. Named by Fortune magazine in 1999 as one of the 50 most powerful women, Covey was the first chief fiscal officer of Amazon between 1996 and 2000. Working alongside CEO Jeff Bezos, she helped take Amazon.com public in 1997. According to her obituary on BusinessWeek, Covey dropped out of high school during her sophomore year and completed college in only two years. She reportedly had an IQ of 173 and became a CPA at age 19, before graduating with with joint business and law degree from Harvard. Covey joined Amazon.com at only 33-years-old and first served as CFO, then chief strategy officer of the e-commerce site. She left voluntarily in 2000 and most recently served as treasurer of the National Resources Defense Council. Covey is survived by an eight-year-old son named Tyler. [BusinessWeek] [PandoDaily] [LA Times] [Fortune] [Image via Facebook]
From the deep, dark recesses of Amazon (where all the best products lie in wait), I came across this “Silicone Muscle Man Body Suit Transformation” for the bargain price of 24,000 Yen (that’s about $250). According to the Amazon description, you should buy this self-adhesive breast plate “because it is made of silicon, muscle Muscles of lifelike, I transform myself into a body builder. Because it is a self-adhesive, wear paste directly to the skin … Paste by turning it back a long part of the image, so paste behind your back also part of the long side, you can just wear. Size so you can adjust freely, it is both men and women can wear. Be turned into a body builder, professional wrestler, muscle man, warrior, etc.”
God, I love Google translations so much. I’m imaging the joy of getting a guy naked for the first time, thinking he’s a body builder and discovering this under his t-shirt. Guys probably feel similarly when we wear water bras. [Amazon]
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Wheelmate steering wheel desk. According to the product description, the Wheelmate is “light enough to carry, but sturdy enough to support a notepad, lunch, or even a laptop.” In the very last sentence, the company cautions against using the product while driving (apparently it’s made for parking lot lunch enthusiasts), but it’s hard to imagine that every tech-addicted workaholic will heed that suggestion. Luckily the product has already been skewered by Amazon reviewers with their trademark brand of sarcasm and satire. “Now I can drive my children to soccer practice without having to choose between their safety and my coke habit,” says one. Another appreciates the Wheelmate’s efficiency: “All the things I can get done while driving – a perfect way to use otherwise wasted time!” There are over 900 more (mostly bogus) reviews where that came from. If you have some free time today, I highly recommend scrolling through. But please pull over first. [Amazon]