At the Digital Book World Conference and Expo, publishing industry professionals come together to analyze the state of the industry and its near and far future projections. This morning, Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, spoke about the horizontal and vertical shifts of Amazon, beginning with the initial bookselling in 1995 and moving into other offerings beginning in 2007, including ebooks and e-readers, grocery, fashion, and more.
“It’s breathtaking how confident these moves are. Amazon believes that technology, its strategic use of data, its long-term orientation, can change the economics in all these industries. They can remove intermediaries and tilt the playing field in its favor.”
Stone continued to explain that Amazon uses its vast and successful knowledge of bookselling to translate that experience into experimenting with other retail fields. Every day, new products and services are introduced, and as Stone says, “Amazon is clearly firing on all cylinders.”
According to Stone, Bezos and anyone associated with Amazon do not believe that the pace of change is stagnating. He states that Amazon has a twenty year history of not giving up and constantly trying new things while still having what Bezos referred to as the mentality of the cheetah-and-gazelle, actively announcing that they needed to go after the industry like a cheetah stalks a “sickly gazelle.”
Good e-Reader sat down with Stone for clarification of how this concept has benefited Amazon so far as becoming the powerhouse it is today. “There was a period in Amazon’s history when they were trying to negotiate some very basic industry terms, and their biggest business at the time was books. And they thought, ‘Why are we doing industry standard terms when we should be able to get a better deal since a lot of these publishers’, the majority of their sales are on Amazon.”
In Stone’s investigation into Amazon’s background for this book, he recounts that a former Amazon business executive told him to find out what the “cheetah and the gazelle” means, leading him to discover that it was a statement from Bezos about how Amazon should approach the publishers. At one point, the negotiations were even referred to as The Gazelle Project, something that did not sit well with Amazon’s lawyers.
But with this single-minded focus on being at the top of the food chain, where can Amazon go from here? The site that became a force with bookselling now has arms in every direction, giving them the opportunity to take out gazelles in almost every aspect of retailing.