In the Empire Business

Friday, August 09, 2013


As the new owner of the Post, Jeff Bezos becomes one of the most important people in journalism. So who is Jeff Bezos? Bob talks with journalist Brad Stone about Bezos and how he might lead the paper. Stone is the author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon -- it'll be released in October. 


Brad Stone

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Bob Garfield

Comments [7]

Ramesh from NY

Your coverage over estimated Bezo's scope. I forgot the exact line but it went something like " around the world.....". Amazon operates in few countries, mostly in the west. In fact Wall mart has opened 'physical' stores in more countries than on-line stores of Amazon.

If Bezo is so adventures he would have opened stores in emerging market instead of pandering to saturated American consumer.

Amazon succeeded because it came at right time. In 2000 eCommorce boom had many willing investors. Then Govt. gave tax free status. Then came China's manufacturing boom. Last one is most important because it made deep discounts possible. Making big online is not hard, just look at, way reliable than

Aug. 19 2013 11:24 PM

Missing in this piece is the struggle for content for publishers and the right or copyright for publishing books. Amazon has made huge inroads into content, video, books, audio, and now newspapers. Unlike all those other content pieces, news is immediate and can drive interest into the Amazon site unlike anything that is there now. So with buying a newspaper with a great brand on the cheap, offers Amazon an important missing piece, immediacy from a reputable site (reputable without the reading rater system). The previous republishing for Kindle agreements with newspapers did not allow for what is possible by buying a paper.

The positive side for the Washington Post, is a much larger audience potentially, and, drum roll, new business model where the advertiser/merchandiser owns the newspaper to put news in between the ads. Obviously, this creates potential conflicts of interest, but how do those differ from now.

Google took a different look at the news, by trying to be ecumenical and have links to all of the news sources. Look to see barriers to Google now to access Washington Post content. This may lead to the battle of the robots (robots.txt see:

Aug. 12 2013 10:25 AM

I think that OTM, as well as everyone else at WNYC, is shockingly naïve in thinking that Jeff Bezos will somehow save the Washington Post in the manner of Steve Jobs reviving Apple. Anyone who has been bled dizzy as the result of selling books on Amazon knows that know that Amazon is a predator, and the company's only goal is profit.

I predict that within two years, the print edition of the Post will cease to exist, and that it will only be available on Kindle. Bezos likely has some new program that will make it impossible to Copy and Paste or otherwise forward any copy, and everyone will have to subscribe to learn the details of a story. If it were possible to somehow prevent broadcasters from even reciting a Post story, Bezos would implement that.

Aug. 11 2013 09:13 PM
Carl Isaacson from Lindsborg, Kansas

I too have to be critical of the story, but not for it's tone regarding Bezos. I don't see evidence that he is leading Amazon to be a better corporate citizen, but you were right not to speculate on what purchase of the Post might mean for tax collection issues.

I do have two issues - both linguistic/grammatical.

First, you said that he might be "almost unique." He cannot, by definition be almost unique. Almost unique is not unique at all. Modifying "unique" has become common and a sloppy way of expressing distinctiveness.

Second, "If anyone can pull this off . . . it is him." No. "It is he." You wouldn't say "Him can pull this off." If you did you'd be marked as a child (and rightly so). You would say "He can pull this off." Just because you located the subject pronoun someplace besides the beginning of the sentence doesn't make it less the subject acting in the sentence. Again, as with the modification of "unique," it is a common and sloppy linguistic habit that I would hope a program as intelligent as On The Media would avoid.

Aug. 11 2013 07:12 PM

Since he runs the "everything store," a monopoly attempting to destroy retail employment isn't a big enough story??? & He buys his own lobby paper.

Way too narrow a focus for OTM.

Aug. 11 2013 04:29 PM
R. G. Roberts

Everyone should check out the links listed above. Coverage such as yours displays a profound ignorance of the inherent conflicts of interest in Mr. Bezos' purchase of the Post. Shoddy work!

Aug. 11 2013 10:25 AM
Tom Roche

For a *much* less fawning take on Bezos, including his ties to the surveillance state and Amazon's appalling labor practices, check Wednesday's (7 Aug) Democracy Now!

Aug. 10 2013 06:13 PM

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