Will Amazon Grow Bored with Publishing?
She was his first love and he was willing to overlook her imperfections at the time. Though she could be charming, cultured and articulate, she was also dowdy and old-fashioned in tweeds and sensible shoes, unworldly and inclined to tedious intellectualism. But she was richly endowed and ripe for seduction, And seduce her he did, but in time he played fast and loose with her heart, tormenting her with infidelities. But she was too dependent on him to let him go, and he began to find her tedious.
Then he found a new fascination, charismatic, classy, fashionable and rich,and he succumbed to her irresistible allure. Only one question remained: Would he throw his first love over?
This is the metaphor that may have occurred to some Amazon-watchers when they read that the behemoth retailer is launching an initiative in the high-end clothing business that resonates with its original efforts to revolutionize publishing.
“Having wounded the publishing industry, slashed pricing in electronics and made the toy industry quiver,” Stephanie Clifford wrote in the New York Times, ”Amazon is taking on the high-end clothing business in its typical way: go big and spare no expense…In the retail clothing world, fears are growing that few will be able to compete with a stepped-up Amazon.”
Though we in the book industry consider our little corner of the media to be glamorous, compared to the fashion field it is lackluster, unsophisticated and impecunious. Looking at it through the eyes of a shrewd businessman, the profit margin on high-end clothes sales – even with free shipping and returning – beggar those of the book industry. “Gross profit dollars per unit will be much higher on a fashion item,”said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of the shrewdest businessmen on the face of the Earth. Bezos was Honorary Chairman at the glam opening of a classic costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. See New York Social Diary for photos of him with Vogue fashionista empress Anna Wintour.
Will the more precious commodity drive the cheaper one from Amazon’s attentions and affections? Keeping our Eternal Triangle metaphor in mind, read the Times‘s article and judge for yourself. Amazon Leaps Into High End of the Fashion Pool