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December 16, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Amazon workers in Germany went on strike Monday, protesting the working conditions at the online retailer's shipping centers. The workers' union, Ver.di, also sent a delegation to the company's Seattle offices. "The Amazon system is characterized by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts," Ver.di said in a statement. Amazon employs about 9,000 workers in Germany plus an additional 14,000 seasonal workers; not all of them are union members. According to estimates, about 1,600 people took part in the strikes Monday at three German locations: Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, and Graben.
July 17, 2011 | Michael Hiltzik
Greed, we are told by the moral philosophers, brings out the worst in human beings. As is about to prove, the same rule applies to big corporations. Last week, the giant online retailer announced that it was backing a ballot referendum to overturn a new state law mandating that it collect the sales tax due on purchases by its California customers. That law, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of June, was designed to eliminate the price advantage enjoyed by Amazon, and many other online retailers, over brick-and-mortar stores.
February 10, 2010 | By Amy Goldman Koss
As a novelist, I am used to having complete control over the world on my computer screen. Life, death, sin, redemption: My characters' lives are in my hands. But last week, I got yet another reminder of my utter powerlessness once the book leaves home. took away my "buy" button. I'm not the only author I know who obsessively checks her Amazon rankings. It's not that I have any real idea what they mean: how they translate into how many books have sold or what kind of royalties I can expect.
August 24, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times Inc. upped the ante in its effort to overturn a new state law requiring all Internet sellers to collect sales taxes on purchases by California customers. The Seattle online retailer reported late last week that it contributed $2.25 million to the More Jobs Not Taxes campaign to qualify a referendum for the June primary election ballot. The contribution brought the company's cumulative investment in the campaign to $5.25 million. The referendum, if signed by at least 505,000 registered voters, would ask voters whether they want to uphold the law, which took effect July 1, or repeal it. Amazon is asking for a repeal, saying the California law is an unconstitutional interference with interstate commerce.
September 11, 2012 | By Salvador Rodriguez
On the eve of Apple's expected rollout of a new iPhone, Amazon has slashed by half the price of a Galaxy S III smartphone for new activations. The Seattle online retailer is selling the 16-gigabyte version of the phone for $99 for those who sign up for a two-year service contract with wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Amazon said the offer was for a "very limited time" but did not specify when it would expire. Amazon is also offering smaller discounts for those who already have an account with one of the carriers and want to upgrade to the Galaxy S III. Purchasers of the Sprint and Verizon versions of the phone can save $50 and AT&T buyers can save $20. Users can also get a discount if adding a family line, knocking the price down to $119 for the Sprint version and $139 for Verizon.
October 24, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
A Seattle city review board has given the thumbs-up to an ambitious and unusual biodome design proposed by Amazon as part of its new downtown campus.  On Wednesday, Seattle's Design Review Board approved the design by architectural firm NBBJ. According to Geekwire , the architects persuaded the review board that the design would be "engaging and inviting to the public passing by. " Amazon is just one of many tech companies pursuing a distinctive new campus design. Apple's spaceship campus was just recently approved by the City Council of Cupertino, Calif.
October 16, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
The editors of the British website the Kernel bought a copy of the e-book "Naughty Daughter Abducted ... (taboo daddy daughter erotica)" on Amazon, and did not like what they saw. "The book is a sick rape fantasy with language and details too graphic for a family-friendly publication to reproduce," they wrote in a story about pornographic e-books being sold by the online retailer. In its heated report ("How Amazon Cashes in on Kindle Filth"), the Kernel found hundreds of e-books that include scenarios of rape, incest and "forced sex" with young girls -- findings that have led to an outcry in Britain . Here in the United States, the 1st Amendment protects some such works as free speech.
February 22, 2011 rolled out a streaming TV and movie service for its prime customers, taking a direct shot at fast growing rival Netflix. Amazon announced Tuesday that its prime customers, who pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, can choose among 5,000 TV shows and movies such as "Syriana," "Doctor Who: Season 4," and "Analyze This" to stream through computers and devices such as Roku. Netflix shares fell 4 percent in opening trade on Tuesday while shares of Amazon were down 2.6 percent.
January 21, 2011 | By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times
The world's biggest online retailer is now competing more directly with the nation's biggest DVD rental service. has agreed to acquire the shares it does not already own in Lovefilm International, a DVD and online film rental service similar to Netflix that operates in Europe. The Seattle company already holds a 42% stake in Lovefilm, which is headquartered in London and Luxembourg. Financial details were not disclosed, although the Financial Times said the deal values Lovefilm at about $317 million.
September 4, 2012 | by Carolyn Kellogg
A best-selling British author has been caught red-handed slamming others' books on Amazon while praising his own under a number of pseudonyms. It was the assiduous work of Jeremy Duns, another writer, that laid out a case demonstrating that prize-winning mystery writer R.J. Ellory had been writing the "sock puppet" reviews on Amazon. Ellory has admitted to using the sock puppetry -- pseudonymous handles to post positive Amazon reviews of his own books and one-star reviews of others'.
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