Leave it to Bezos
Around the town
In what is allegedly not an April Fools stunt launched five months prematurely, Jeff Bezos announced that Amazon plans to start delivering packages by drone. He took to CBS’ 60 Minutes last night to announce that packages less than five pounds will be mailed by the flying robots as part of its “Amazon Prime Air” program.
The Future of the Ebook
Vox Media is buying Curbed Network, “a saucy trio of urban lifestyle and entertainment blogs,” for an estimated $20 to $30 million. (Fortune)
Is Rupert Murdoch really happy? Sure. He’s an 82 year-old media mogul who is not going to jail for phone hacking. Plus, he bought a vineyard! (USA Today)
Leave it to Bezos
Have you tried searching Amazon for anything other than a specific book lately? Don’t, because your results will be clogged with crap. Try finding a half-decent romance novel and it’ll become instantly clear why GoodReads has gotten so popular–keyword searches are full of poorly written pornography with hideous covers.
But the flood of poorly vetted self-published work poses much, much bigger problems for booksellers. Take, for instance, British bookseller W.H. Smith, which was recently found to be carrying titles like Daddy Rapes the Virgin Daughter in the Attic and Amber’s Rape By Her Parolee Father. A search for “daddy” would return eye-searing results, inspiring a shitstorm across the pond in the U.K.
Money Money Money
Betabeat has long harbored a not-so-secret suspicion that Jeff Bezos might actually be Lex Luthor. Well, fire up your word processor and get ready to write some crossover fanfic, because a new profile in Bloomberg Businessweek, excerpted from a coming book by writer Brad Stone, essentially confirms at least one major overlap: Jeff Bezos loves pitching a good fit at his henchmen.
Apparently some of his employees call his angry fits “nutters.” Take this anecdote of his response to a poorly planned-out update: “He called me a ‘complete f------ idiot’ and said he had no idea why he hired idiots like me at the company, and said, ‘I need you to clean up your organization.”
Bad news, guys: It sounds like Startupland might be losing 4-Hour Workweek scribe and Valley guru Tim Ferriss. Or at least his money, anyway.
Mr. Ferriss recently sat down for a chat with Fortune and revealed that, in fact, he’s “considering dialing my startup involvement.” Why’s that? Too much dumb money:
Around the town
The Amazon website went down this afternoon, but is since fixed.
For around twenty minutes, typing in “Amazon.com” resulted in a message that said: “Oops! We’re very sorry, but we’re having trouble doing what you just asked us to do. Please give us another chance–click the Back button on your browser and try your request again. Or start from the beginning on our homepage.” Eventually, giving the site a second chance worked.
However, Amazon was kind of well-prepared, from a graphics persective. An image that illustrated the service failure message featured three titles Oops (a picture book), I’m Sorry…My Bad! (also a picture book) and Grave Mistake (which looks like a YA book).
This roundup might be a little top-heavy today, but it’s not every week that Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post.
To start: the front-page headlines of The New York Times and the Post, respectively. (Newseum/Newseum)
Post associate editor Bob Woodward thinks the sale is “very sad,” but added: “I think in some ways, this Read More
Trouble is afoot in the land of Internet domains. Specifically, in the land of “generic top-level-domains”—or as they are known by non-geeks, the letters that come after the dot.
Retail giant Amazon has launched a bid to buy 76 new domains, including “.like” “.shop” “.author.” and the particularly contentious, “.pin.” These domains will not be Read More
If you finished all the books on your Kindle last night and wanted to download more, you probably would have been out of luck. The “buy” buttons for Kindle books disappeared, prompting panic and conspiracy theories–especially in light of the fact that only the big six publishers: Random House, Penguin, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and, Read More
We recently noticed an interesting reader-submitted review on Amazon for Jessica Grose’s new novel Sad Desk Salad. Slate editor David Plotz (Ms. Grose’s former boss, as she was a senior editor at Slate and most recently wrote for the site in August 2012) submitted a review just like any other normal book-buyer. “I Read More