I remember the first time I shopped on amazon.com. Of course, back in 1996 all they sold was books. They even had this radio campaign about how they could never build warehouses big enough for everything they sell.
Amazon.com literally changed the face of the retail industry in the United States. Almost singlehandedly, they brought “Brick and Mortar” stores to their knees. Amazon.com forced the Borders Group to shut their doors and Barnes & Noble to adapt quickly. (Thankfully, B&N has adapted because I love that place!) And as the graphic below illustrates, when Amazon.com branched out into selling other products, they dominated the cybermall. They are an amazing success story and worth reading about.
With the Kindle, Amazon changed the world again – suddenly taking e-books from being something you puttered around with on your computer to a highly mobile, low tech way to enjoy reading. It is not that Amazon invented e-reading, but they certainly perfected it.
If you want to read more about it, check out One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard Brandt. It is not without a sense of irony that I mention that the book is available in Kindle OR Nook.