Skip to Content

Amazon, E-books and Saga

9 June 2003

The saga of Amazon continues. With American business still struggling, Amazon's revenues of about $4 billion are still growing at 20% a year, driven by relentless diversification into new products. Most observers would agree that Amazon has effectively seen off the competition as far as online bookselling is concerned, with Bertelsmann abandoning its attempt to establish But Amazon's Jeff Bezos has driven the company to some amazing behind-the scene achievements too, not least a stock-turn of 20 times a year, far ahead of most retailers and hugely ahead of other booksellers' norms.

Gemstar winding down

Gemstar, which has supposedly been running at a loss of $12 million a year, is rumoured to be closing down its e-book division after failing to find a buyer. The irony is that e-books sales are now quite robust and Gemstar's customers are thought to include many loyal early adopters of the e-book. But it is still costing too much to grow the company, at a time when the sales of e-books, although promising, are still way off the big numbers originally projected at the height of the dotcom boom.

New Prize for over 50s

Saga, the British group which sells a wide range of services to the over 50s, has just announced a new prize of £20,000 for humorous fiction or non-fiction written by authors of 50 or over. This is a real boost for older writers and for a neglected type of writing, which many will feel provides a good antidote to the grim headlines on the news pages.