The word Amazon has been associated with extraordinary size and beauty of proportions that dwarfed all would be competitors; in fact, the very essence of the meaning of the name ‘Amazon’ conveys the image of fierce grandeur by association alone. A few examples of the original holders of the name Amazon are The Amazon River which holds the largest volume of water flow in the world, reportedly, more than seven of the next largest rivers; and of course, the famed tribe of huge Amazonian warrior women. Needless to say Amazon is not a name to be treated lightly and in the case of the modern day commercial marvel Amazon, this fact still holds true.
Everyone knows the name Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO and the self-made gad zillionaire, or more accurately according to Forbes, Bezos holds the position as number 19 on the list of the world’s billionaires and number 12 in the United States, with a net value of $25.2 billion dollars (Forbes, Mar. 23, 2013). In case that number seems meaningless to you, Donald Trump is somewhere around number 423 and Oprah Winfrey is hovering around number 168 in the U.S. Forbe’s list of billionaires and in the 500’s in the world’s richest list.
Jeff Bezos is an impressive person to say the least, because he not only pulled himself up by his bootstraps, he made and then sold the bootstraps on an international scale. Bezos graduated from Princeton University and worked on Wall Street before striking off on a quest to conquer the world of online selling and change the face of commerce. Bezos chose online book marketing and sales for his venue and set up shop in his garage with a few employees and within 30 days of startup, his new company had reached 45 foreign companies and within two months, sales became meteoric (Biography.com, 2013), and thus Amazon was born. Although this would have been the end of the story for many entrepreneurs, not so with Jeff Bezos, whose Amazonian vision extended far into the commercial horizon that would include innovative ideas and plans of diversification that eventually resulted in a creative explosion on the world scene.
In 2007, Amazon’s Kindle e-reader changed the world of publishing and media forever, as the growth of e-publications rapidly replaced cumbersome printed matter, forcing major publishing houses and media moguls to innovate and adapt to keep pace. The access and delivery of reading material became instantaneous and the expansion of technological devices such as smart phones, allowed potential readers to carry thousands of books around with them, practically light as a feather, with only a click of a button needed to access the world’s greatest classics. What a wonderful world it was with Amazon leading the pack. The expansion of new outlets allowed new authors otherwise known as ‘Indie author’ (shortened form of independent authors) to produce books by the hundreds of thousands, flooding the market with eBooks; not to be outdone, the major authors followed suit and the day the mega author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter eBooks hit the Amazon kindle system, the enormous overload of traffic crashed the system.
Amazon expanded from being an online book seller to an online company that sells almost everything, from electronics to shoes. Amazon created an empire by buying up the competition as well as buying affiliate companies and the buying spree is ongoing. The most recent purchase deal is that of the media social giant Goodreads, home of over 16,000,000 online users that includes both readers and authors from all over the world.
The big question now is how will the super-giant Amazon treat the Goodreads free spirits? I personally benefit from Amazon’s portals and opportunities as an author and I also enjoyed the freedom that being a member of the Goodreads community afforded me, so I am one of the inquisitive minds who want to know: Will we keep our freedoms or have we been sold into slavery? This question will be answered in time; hopefully the answer will be a good one.