The Case of the Missing Package

Mike: So I ordered a vacuum on Amazon the other day. It was delivered last night, but when I got home, it wasn't there. Someone stole the package.

Please Someone Buy This $200 E-Book

Via the Paris Review Daily’s roundup of very expensive ebooks, I bring you this gem, titled “The Amazon’s most expensive book (Arabic edition).” Behold the product description:

This book is one of the most expensive available on Amazon in Kindle version. It does not exist on paper version. It caters to the richest people. Those who can buy it without flinching. It is not for the poor, stingy, or for those who count their money.

Therefore, please do not buy this book if you do not have enough money on your bank account. If you are not wealthy but think you can read this book and ask for a refund afterwards, give up immediately, you are not the readership target.

Any unusual thing is expensive! This is the law of supply and demand. Only a privileged few can buy and read this book. The others: go your way. Many free books are available for your long winter evenings. However, if you have a lot of money, and if the price of this book does not disturb you more than that, welcome and good reading.

Of course my first instinct when I saw this was to gchat Mike Dang about it, to which he said:

TV

How Amazon Chooses to Fund a Streaming TV Series

The Way Shows Are Made Now.

The Tax Most People Forget to Pay

Chana Joffe-Walt reports that most Americans—except for tax lawyers and accountants—forget to pay use taxes when they file our taxes every year.

Lush Cosmetics Names Shower Gel After Amazon Exec

Ooh hoo. As the Guardian reports, Lush's new line of Christopher North shower gel comes with the tagline, "rich, thick and full of it." Apparently, the cosmetics company asked Amazon to take down their misleading bath products, which were described as "lush" and designed to look a lot like Lush's own products, 17 different times before they filed a lawsuit. After three years of proceedings, a judge has ruled in Lush's favor, remarking that Amazon should not be allowed to "ride roughshod over intellectual property rights" in the name of technological development.

Amazon’s Movement from “Missionary” to “Mercenary”

At Harper's, James Marcus reviews Brad Stone's The Everything Store, a book about online retail giant Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.

Amazon Begins Collecting Sales Tax in Massachusetts and Connecticut Today

For those who haven't heard, I am sorry to tell you that as of this morning, Amazon sales in MA are now subject to sales tax. A victory for brick-and-mortar stores, the state of Massachusetts, and anyone who panics when their accountant asks them how much they spent on online purchases since last April (this may not be related to sales tax but that question always freaks me out). Amazon already charges sales tax in a dozen other states. The change in MA is projected to earn the state an extra 37 million dollars this year. Think of how many libraries you could keep open with that kind of money!

The Business of Streaming Music

Yesterday Tim Carmody looked into the question, "Can anyone turn streaming music into a real business?"

Duh, Amazon is Bad For the Book Business

George Packer has a really long, really gossipy and great story about Amazon in the New Yorker right now. It is DARK, or it is dark if you love books and care about literary culture and are scandalized by things like this, even if you already knew it, but just to see it spelled out so clearly, my god.

Amazon Reviews As Market Research

Jason Feifer at Fast Company badgered his way into interviewing a very random and very successful online company he stumbled upon called C&A Marketing, whose business model is based on reading product reviews on Amazon and manufacturing products to fill in the gaps of what people want.

How Amazon Thinks I Should Spend My $50 Gift Card

Amazon is my personal shopper.

How Not to Write, Market and Sell a Supernatural Romance Novel

The book I had in mind would not be very good. It would be better than everyone else's books but it wouldn't be very good. I was aiming for broad market appeal, shameless pandering to middlebrow tastes and prose more meretriciously sentimental than a whore on wharf. The book would be fast and it would be short. It would be published under a penname. It would help me to get by.