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Amazon

Considered the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com was founded in Seattle by Jeff Bezos and went online in 1995.

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Busey

Gary Busey in an advertsisement for Amazon’s fireTV.

SEATTLE — Amazon is continuing its foray into the high-tech world as the company introduced a small black box that would help people stream information and programming from their computers to TVs.

Amazon fireTV enables access to Internet programming and a giant library of video games. The device was made available Wednesday on Amazon.com for $99.

According to the company, the benefits of Amazon fireTV include a massive selection of movies, a voice search that works and an easy set up. The device is also perfect for Amazon Prime users, the company said, as it will offer up thousands of movies to subscribers.

With the introduction, Amazon joins Apple, Microsoft and Sony as companies that have unveiled streaming devices. Amazon said they hope to improve on other devices with better search tools and an open ecosystem of apps.

The company released the item along with a rather offbeat advertisement featuring the eccentric actor Gary Busey:

 

 

Random House Publishing And Penguin Books Ahead Of Merger

The logo of the Penguin publishing house, part of Pearson Plc, is seen on a Kindle Fire HD e-reader at a bookstore in London, U.K., on Friday, April 5, 2013.

SEATTLE — Many Amazon.com customers awoke to news in their e-mail box Tuesday: a partial credit for e-books they bought.

Consumers nationwide who bought e-books through Amazon and other online retailers will get credited a total of $166 million stemming from price-fixing settlements with five publishers, according to the New York State attorney general.

“Illegal actions by these publishers forced consumers in New York and across the nation to pay artificially inflated prices for e-books,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in a statement.

Schneiderman said the settlements being paid by the publishers apply to consumers in 33 states, with $11.5 million going to customers in New York.

Schneiderman said the settlement is with Simon & Schuster Inc. of CBS, HarperCollins Publishers LLC of News Corp., Hachette Book Group, Macmillan and Penguin Group of Pearson.

The settlement applies to consumers who bought the e-books through retailers Amazon and Kobo with devices made by Amazon, Apple and Sony.

Amazon is sending e-mails to its e-book consumers announcing, “Good news! You are entitled to a credit of $xx.xx for some of your past Kindle book purchases.”

The online retailer says the credit applies to books sold between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, and expire on March 31, 2015. For most of the states, the payment is $3.17 for New York Times bestsellers and 73 cents for other books; Minnesota residents get $3.93 for Times bestsellers and 94 cents for other books.

As for Apple, a federal judge in New York ruled that it engaged in a conspiracy with the publishers to artificially inflate the prices of e-books. Apple is appealing the ruling.

Local News
12/02/13

Amazon says drone deliveries are the future

SEATTLE — In the not-too-distant future, Amazon deliveries could come by air directly to your doorstep.

The online mega-retailer unveiled plans on Sunday for a new delivery service called Prime Air, which uses unmanned aerial vehicles — or drones — that look like toy helicopters.

The “octocopters” aren’t ready to take flight yet. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in an interview on 60 Minutes that the drones would be ready to take flight in four to five years. But an Amazon spokesperson pointed to an updated post on the company’s website promising aerial deliveries as soon as federal rules change.

Amazon

From CNN

Those FAA rules could come as soon as 2015. The type of flights Bezos proposed are currently not allowed. Unlike some other drones currently used, these would be autonomous — they would fly without a pilot.

“I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,” Bezos said in the CBS interview. “It drops the package. You come and get your package and we can do half-hour deliveries.”

For more on this CNN Money story, click here.

 

Local News
11/11/13

Online shoppers rejoice: Amazon to ship on Sundays

SEATTLE — The online megastore announced a deal on Monday with the U.S. Postal Service. Amazon said the first Sunday deliveries would be made this coming weekend.

The service initially will be available only in metropolitan New York and Los Angeles, spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman said. But the company envisions expanding it to Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix in 2014, she said.

Sunday delivery comes with the same shipping charges as delivery on any other day of the week, Cheeseman said. Amazon Prime members, who pay an annual fee to qualify for free shipping and other perks, will be able to place orders on Fridays for Sunday delivery.

USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan called the expanded delivery a “win/win” for Amazon and added that the postal service is interested in forming similar agreements with other

amazon-warehouse-85

Photo courtesy amusingplanet.com

retailers.

The USPS has proposed cutting back to five-day delivery from six — but only for mail. Brennan said that while the volume of mail shipped has declined, package shipments are increasing.

The deal comes ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. The USPS annually delivers packages on some Sundays in December.

Neither Amazon nor the USPS would discuss the terms of their service agreement, nor would they say how many packages are expected to be delivered on Sundays this year.

The company spent $1.8 billion on shipping in the last three months of last year, according to regulatory filings.

Amazon has long-explored efficient and fast delivery options, especially in the most expensive and complex portion of delivery: the so-called last mile. The company has more than a dozen fulfillment warehouses across the United States.

It currently offers a fresh food delivery service in Los Angeles and Seattle, where the company is based.

bezos

Amazon launches controversial new program for independent bookstores to sell Kindles.

SEATTLE– Amazon is offering incentives to independent bookstores to sell Kindle e-readers, tablets and accessories to their customers.

Amazon announced that the new program, “Amazon Source,” will give bookstores and other retailers a discount when they purchase Kindles for resale, and in return they get 10 percent of the revenue from every Kindle e-book that people buy for two years.

“We believe that retailers, online or offline, small or large, should be striving to offer customers what they want—and many customers want to read both digital and print books,” Russ Grandinetti, vice president, Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. “For many years, bookstores have successfully sold print books on Amazon — now Amazon Source extends this opportunity to digital. With Amazon Source, customers don’t have to choose between e-books and their favorite neighborhood bookstore—they can have both.”

Several bookstores have already been using Amazon Source in a pilot program.

To learn more about the program, click here.

Local News
10/03/13

Amazon to produce 3 more pilot TV shows

mozart in the jungle cropSEATTLE — Amazon is giving the green light to three more half-hour pilot TV shows, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The Journal said the three shows are “Mozart in the Jungle,” “The Outlaws” and “Transparent.”

PSBJ said Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola will be writing “Mozart in the Jungle” and will star actor Jason Schwartzman.

The shows will be produced into series and air on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LoveFilm in Britain in early 2014.

To read the complete story from the PSBJ, click here.

please-dont-buy-his-book-on-amazon-20-001By Emily Keeler, Los Angeles Times

Novelist and independent bookseller Jaime Clarke has, like many writers before him, launched a website tied to the promotion of his new book. “Vernon Downs” will be available from Amazon in April 2014, but his website urges readers to consider pre-ordering the book directly from the publisher Roudabout Press, or buying it in their local bookstore. His website is hosted at, yes, pleasedontbuymybookonamazon.com.

In an interview with Cnet Monday, Clarke outlined his main reasons, as a bookseller and small press author, for opposing Amazon. “Indie publishers realize a fraction of the purchase price and are at the mercy of Amazon’s discounting policies,” he said. “As a bookstore owner, my obvious preference is that readers buy books at bookstores, but I know a lot of readers don’t live in proximity to a bookstore.”

When asked about Amazon’s digital and self-publishing tools, Clarke said that “I’m sure all the advantages are really on Amazon’s side of the transaction,” adding that the company “has never shown themselves to be concerned with art or art-making. Just money.”

Earlier this month, Jonathan Franzen took a similar stance against the online bookseller in the Guardian. “Amazon is well on its way to making writers into the kind of prospectless workers whom its contractors employ in its warehouses, labouring harder for less and less, with no job security, because the warehouses are situated in places where they’re the only business hiring,” he wrote.

His essay continued, “And the more of the population that lives like those workers, the greater the downward pressure on book prices and the greater the squeeze on conventional booksellers, because when you’re not making much money you want your entertainment for free, and when your life is hard you want instant gratification (‘Overnight free shipping!’).”

Roundabout Press can’t afford to offer free shipping, but Clarke hopes readers will think his cause is worth that $3.99.

SEATTLE — Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is ready to give the iPad a run for its money — It’s cheaper and features a new, 24/7 tech support feature called Mayday.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave fans a preview of the latest Kindle Fire in a sit down interview with CNN.

Bezos says the free, new tech support feature is aimed at rescuing people from their frustrations.

The new Amazon Kindle costs about $200 less than Apple’s cheapest iPad and Bezos tells CNN that is intentional.

He says Amazon is selling the Kindle hardware at a break-even price and hopes to make money when people use the devices, not buy them.

To read more about Bezos’ interview with CNN and the new Kindle tablets, click here.

amazon-warehouse-85

Photo courtesy amusingplanet.com

SEATTLE — A group of former Amazon employees is suing the company for unpaid wages related to time they spent going through security screenings.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, seven warehouse workers have filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon and staffing agency Integrity Staffing Solutions.

The suit alleges employees were required to clock out before going through security screenings that sometimes took 25 minutes to complete. During the screenings, employees weren’t allowed to have personal items such as phones, books or magazines.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs told the Puget Sound Business Journal that they’re seeking class-action status to accommodate the thousands of employees who submit to these screenings.

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