|Cover design by José Chicas|
In his article "The Amazon Effect," former editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review Steve Wasserman chronicled the history and current status of the company. He observed that from the start, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos "understood two things. One was the way the Internet made it possible to banish geography, enabling anyone with an Internet connection and a computer to browse a seemingly limitless universe of goods with a precision never previously known and then buy them directly from the comfort of their homes. The second was how the Internet allowed merchants to gather vast amounts of personal information on individual customers."It's a worrisome issue providing much food for thought. Sweatshop conditions and no unions, monopolistic practices, invasion of privacy, evasion of taxes, etc etc... is this any different from the robber barons?
"Why does Amazon now have customers do the search chores it used to do for them, and in innovative ways?" That question was addressed by Anthony Grafton in "Search Gets Lost."
Michael Naumann, editor-in-chief of the German magazine Cicero who headed Holt in New York City in the late 1990s before becoming Germany's culture minister for three years, examined "How Germany Keeps Amazon at Bay and Literary Culture Alive," looking at ways the country's fixed-price laws "curtail the power of retail chains and help to sustain a vibrant literary culture." Introducing its slide show "Ten Reasons to Avoid Doing Business with Amazon," the Nation asked "what's at stake in the battle over e-commerce and why should you avoid doing business with Amazon.com?"