Amazon shares soar on surprise profit, market value above Wal Mart’s (Reuters) Inc (AMZN.O) shares surged more than 17 percent on Thursday as the online retailer posted an unexpected quarterly profit, pushing its market value above that of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the world’s largest retailer.

Amazon also forecast third-quarter revenue above estimates, and reported strong sales in North America, and unprecedented growth in its popular Prime two-day unlimited shipping service.

The TeleRead Take: Amazon’s logo has a pretty good reason for smiling today. Amazon’s alleged inability to turn a profit and the alleged unprofitability of its Prime service have been two major refrains of critics over the years. But here goes Amazon significantly beating its revenue estimate and turning a $92 million, 19 cents per share profit, and saying it was “fueled in large part by Prime growth”. And they expect to do the same thing for next quarter, too. I guess miracles never cease.

Amazon Customers Now Getting a Little Extra From the eBook Antitrust Settlement (The Digital Reader)

According to the discussion on Amazon’s help forums, the credit is for books which had been reclassified from mid list to best seller. Customers who had bought the affected books are getting an additional $2.44 per title.

If you haven’t gotten the email, you probably won’t be getting one. But if you did get an email then the credit then you should know that the credit is provided on a use it or lose it basis. It will expire in a year. You can find more info at Amazon.

The TeleRead Take: Nate originally thought the new credits had to do with Apple’s payout for the anti-trust settlement, since it lost its appeal, but it instead turned out to be adjustments for a book classification error affecting a limited number of customers. Not too surprised; I hadn’t expected Apple’s own payout to start until and unless it struck out at the Supreme Court, which wouldn’t happen for a while yet. Though I could still be wrong.

Another wake-up call from Amazon as they serve author interests better than publishers have (The Shatzkin Files)

This has not stopped. The most recent example was announced yesterday. Amazon is now enabling readers to sign up on their favorite authors’ pages for notification of forthcoming books. This once again demonstrates Amazon’s willingness to innovate. And by doing this they also will deliver benefits to the publishers — an increase in out-of-the-box sales of new books to the authors’ sign-up lists. But the chances are that authors will be more appreciative than publishers will. That aspect of this initiative then feeds into the meme that “Amazon is taking over!”

The TeleRead Take: It’s interesting to see even a member of publishing’s old guard admit that Amazon has actually been good for publishers in a lot of ways, even as it’s been refashioning the industry in its own image in other ways. Shatzkin notes this is largely what he’s been saying about Amazon all along, however. Meanwhile, I find other things to argue with him about in the comments…

Sleep in a Book Store in Tokyo (GalleyCat)

In September 2015, the book store/hostel will open its doors with beds set up right next to the store’s bookshelves. Shoppers can visit during the day and guests can get a cheap night’s sleep in the bunks over night. Not a bad setting in a country where budget accommodations include capsules and love hotels.

The TeleRead Take: Well, that’s one way to overcome the declining profits in running a bookstore, I guess. And it certainly ought to appeal to book lovers. Maybe some US bookstores should consider doing something similar. (Well, I’m already in the same city as one bookstore that is also a brewpub…)

Annoyed By Mobile Sites That “Ask” You To Download Their App? You’re Not Alone (TechCrunch)

Sixty-nine percent of people saw a link somewhere, cared enough to tap it, saw the interstitial and said “hell no.” I’m pretty sure that Google+ isn’t the only property seeing this on the web. I like using really well built mobile sites. They feel lighter than a native app and sometimes I just want to follow a link and get out of there.

Sorry, site owners, maybe we just don’t want your app. Google+ dropped theirs once they saw the above data. Being “mobile” doesn’t just mean having a native app and driving people to it.

The TeleRead Take: Google found that, of people who visited Google+ from their mobile browser and got a pop-up inviting them to download the G+ mobile app, only 9% tapped the button while 69% just closed the browser altogether, neither tapping the button nor continuing on to the original link. It turned out that the “helpful” suggestion to download their app was turning off over 2/3 of the people who came to the site.

It just goes to show you that mobile design can be counterintuitive, and the thing you think will “help” someone to experience your content better could instead drive them away. This is something that any interface designer should keep in mind—including e-book designers.

Google’s immersive storytelling app launches on iOS (Engadget)

Google is getting serious about 360-degree video content. And it’s not only about supporting it through YouTube or, by extension, Cardboard. The search giant’s also behind an app called Spotlight Stories, which it created with Motorola in 2013 and has been on Android since. As of today, that application is also available for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad — as long as those devices are running a version of iOS 8.

The TeleRead Take: We’ve previously covered this mobile movie player for TeleRead, when I unexpectedly had one of the movies pop up on my Moto X phone. I hadn’t heard that Google had made the player available to Android overall (though I notice it’s still only phone compatible; neither of my tablets could install it). And now it’s expanding to iOS, too. Duet is definitely worth a watch, whatever your OS.


  1. So many good stories today, and so glad you got the whole server issue and DOS attack solved.

    I received a rebate from Amazon, and splurged on a book that I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. Thanks Amazon and all you stuck in the dark ages publishers. 😉

    The Shatzkin Files article was interesting. I like the follow option at Amazon and have clicked that button for a couple of authors to see how it goes. I also clicked the “more authors to follow” and found a few authors that look like a good fit for my reading habits. I think it’s a win-win for readers and authors, and maybe even those stuck in the dark ages publishers.

    Mobile apps for every site: I refuse. I don’t want my iPhone or iPad cluttered with all that stuff, nor do I want to take up the precious storage space for an app that I’ll use now and then. Plus who wants to risk all those sites following everything I do? I’m one who simply skips a site when they want me to use their app. There’s a great blu-ray movie forum that I used to visit. They designed an app, and it never worked right; worse, their site wouldn’t run on the browser my phone. I no longer visit them either on my phone or my desktop computer, so they’ve lost all my referral sales.

  2. Continued thanks, MrsMac. Yes, we try to include our share of items that TeleRead community members can actually act on. Couldn’t agree more with you about those apps inflicted on the unwilling!

    While we have additional site issues to address, Hostwinds has made progress in various areas. The real fun should come next week, when, if all goes as planned, our site design will undergo changes. What’s more, we’ll aim for further speed improvements.


  3. You miss what actually happened. Amazon’s has long been profitable in all its divisions. One of their executives came clean about that a few years back. Amazon’s just been very careful to come up with expenses to negate those profits for tax purposes. Cut-rate prices for Kindles is probably one of them. Investing in huge server farms and warehouses are others.

    Amazon’s reported profits or losses are far too small a portion of its income to be real, particularly in the unpredictable retail trade. Amazon has been cooking its books—probably legally—to appear to be low profit.

    Journalists, never a very clever bunch at best, have fallen for that hook, line and sinker. (I sometimes wonder if there’s a lie so transparent that they’d pick up on it.) And the public, for some strange reason believing what they read in the press, has fallen in line.

    This unexpectedly large quarterly profit may be a glitch or it may signal a change in the game Amazon is playing with the public and its investors. But it shouldn’t be taken as an indication that anything at Amazon has fundamentally changed.

  4. I recieved a book credit that was a few cents short of a saw buck. Free money is always nice, I’ll spend it wisely, but it’s not going to make a big difference in the long. I’m sure the big winners in this rigmarole are the lawyers. Where would we be if lawyers didn’t get rich fighting for our chump change?

  5. @Greg- I’d say you are right most of the time with this statement but there was a separate order awarding attorneys fees and reimbursement expenses to the plaintiffs. As the plaintiffs were the DOJ and participating states, monies recovered under that order should be returned to the tax coffers.

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