Archives for Amazon



America’s Most Well-Read Cities

Amazon has just released its third annual list of the Most Well-Read Cities of America — a ranking based on per-capita “sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format.”  Here are the top 5:

1. Alexandria, Va.

2. Knoxville, Tenn.

3. Miami, Fla.



The Economics of Toilet Paper

You never know what kind of useful information will turn up in your in-box. From a reader named Darin Haselhorst:

Steven and Stephen,

Thought this might be right up your alley.  An analysis only a true cheapskate could love.

I get very frustrated trying to compare prices on “paper products” at my local supermarket, Safeway.  They have various marketing terms meant to confuse the average consumer, regular, double, mega etc., making nearly impossible to compare prices on the spot.  So, I threw together a little spreadsheet (attached).

The price as Safeway was not all that surprising until you compare it to the price for which Amazon is willing to deliver it to your front door.  The Amazon Subscribe and Save program is about 30% cheaper than going to the store.  Not too bad.  If you have Amazon deliver 5 items on automatic delivery, they will take an additional 20% off the entire delivery.  A deal any true economist simply cannot pass up.

Its surprising to me that Amazon is willing to deliver to your door for approximately half the price Safeway has on their shelf.

Read More »



Jeff Bezos Retrieves Apollo Rocket Engines From Ocean Floor

Fascinating story, told straight-ahead here by Reuters, and by Bezos himself here, with great photos and some commentary. From the Reuters article:

A recovery team funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has plucked two rocket engines from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean that were used to send astronauts to the moon more than 40 years ago.

And from PCMag.com:

Located several hundred miles off the east coast of the United States (see this cool GeoHack map identifying the location of S-IC wreckage from the Apollo missions), the engines remain the property of NASA. Bezos said when he announced the salvage mission last March that if one engine was recovered, the space agency would likely want it displayed at the Smithsonian but that he’d asked NASA to allow a subsequent recovery by his privately funded team to be housed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., where Amazon is headquartered.

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Will Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Model Hurt Newspapers?

In Nieman Journalism Lab blog post, Ken Doctor explores the possible effects of Amazon’s shift into same-day delivery on newspaper advertising revenues:

Here’s what most hurts most about the new Amazon threat: It aims directly at the one category of newspaper advertising that has fared the best, retail.

Classifieds has decimated by interactive databases. National has migrated strongly digital. Retail, which made up of just 47 percent of newspaper ad revenues 10 years ago, is now up to 57 percent of newspaper totals. Now that advertising, albeit in just a few markets initially, will have to compete with Amazon-forced marketplace change.

Doctor also considers the implications of the move for Google, cityscapes and shopping centers, and employment.

(HT: Marginal Revolution) Read More »



Why Does a Caucasian Dollhouse Cost Nearly 70% More Than an African-American Dollhouse?

If you were shopping on Amazon.com last night for a Fisher-Price “My First Dollhouse” with a Caucasian family, you would have been asked to pay $63.99. If, however, you wanted to buy what looks to be a nearly identical “My First Dollhouse” with an African-American family, the price was only $37.99.

Amazon reviewers have taken note, and aren’t pleased. When my son Solomon (11 years old) wandered past my computer last night as I was looking this over, he didn’t need any prompting: “That’s so racist!” he said.

Is it? What is it that we’re seeing here on Amazon — racial discrimination? Price discrimination? Neither? Read More »



A Record Label That Believes in You

The record label Asthmatic Kitty is taking an interesting approach to the sale of Sufjan Steven’s newest album. Read More »



The Birth of Book Pirates?

| About 250 Kindle users are using Amazon’s tagging system to boycott e-books that cost over $10, claiming that an e-book is more “restricted in its use” than a paper book and should therefore cost less, reports Wired. One of the boycotters’ main complaints: you can’t lend out your e-books to friends. When digital music […] Read More »



How Many Reviews Are Too Many?

| Does the 3,250th review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows have any influence on an Amazon customer? An Economist article says it does. In fact, says the article, the more online reviews a product has, the more likely people are to buy it. If reviewers know the reviews they write have influence, it […] Read More »