The History of Amazon

Highlights and achievements of the world's largest bookstore

Amazon Logo
Amazon's brand logo has a curved arrow leading from the A to the Z, representing that Amazon carries every product from A to Z, the arrow is shaped like a smile. Courtesy of Amazon

Have you ever visited Amazon? Chances are that you have, since Amazon is currently the largest online retailer of goods in the world, and has done more to promote and establish the practice of online shopping and e-commerce than anyone else.

What is E-commerce?

By definition e-commerce is "commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet". In layman's terms e-commerce is selling goods over the internet.
E-commerce is possible because of the use of software programs that allow for: product display, online ordering, and inventory management.

Amazon Just Another Company Started in a Garage

Jeffrey Preston Bezos aka Jeff Bezos incorporated the company in July 1994 and went online with it on July 16, 1995, originally under the name of Cadabra. In 1994, Bezos was employed as the vice-president of the Wall Street firm of D. E. Shaw & Co. when he had a "eureka" moment after reading a report that web sales were expected to grow by 2,300 percent. In a Times magazine interview, Bezos described starting Amazon as his "regret minimization framework", he knew online retailing was going to be a lucrative market and in 1994 he was already regretting not getting into that business sooner.

Jeff Bezos quit his job as vice-president and drove cross country from New York to relocate in Seattle, Washington, writing a business plan for his new company along the way.

He made a short list of products that he felt would sell well online and eventually he would sell all and more including: cds, computers, software, videos, and books. However, Bezos decided to begin Amazon selling books and that he did setting up his first office in his garage, just like the founders of Google, Disney, Apple, Mattel and a few other famous companies have done. quickly became the largest bookstore in the world, the first book that was sold was entitled Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, by Douglas Hofstadter.

The Value of a Good Brand Name

Amazon's original name of Cadabra was soon rethought, as the name was often mispronounced as "Cadaver". Jeff Bezos picked Amazon for two reasons, he wanted a name that started with the letter A for alphabetical reason, names starting with the letter A are always higher on alphabetical lists. After deciding on having a name that had to start an A, Bezos choose Amazon, named after the largest river in the world, for its exotic appeal.

Bezo's reasoning for finding a great name for his company and website was that he expected the concept of Amazon to be copied and that he would have plenty of copycat competitors in the future, however, he knew that a good brand name was indispensable especially to an online retailer.

In 2000, the famous Amazon trademarked logo was created. The logo depicting the letters with an arrow pointing from the A to the Z, represents the A to Z list of products that Amazon now sells, the arrow is in the shape of a smile representing customer satisfaction.

Kindle Products

In 2007, Amazon branched out with its first consumer product Kindle, a dedicated e-reader that wirelessly downloaded books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and personal documents to a handheld electronic display that mimicked the looks and feel of real paper.


On May 12, 1997, Barnes & Noble sued Amazon disputing that Amazon's claim to be "the world's largest bookstore" was a false one. According to Barnes and Noble, was not a bookstore it was a book broker. The lawsuit was settled out of court, and Amazon continued to refer to itself as the largest bookstore in the world.