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Brad Stone

Seattle-based Amazon.com (AMZN) has a crosstown retail rival in Costco Wholesale (COST), located in nearby Issaquah, and the histories of the companies are interestingly intertwined. During Amazon’s formative years, founder Jeff Bezos got some key advice from his Costco counterpart, Jim Sinegal. And Amazon Prime, the two-day shipping club, was inspired in part by Costco’s membership fees and the psychological inclination of shoppers to maximize the benefits of a club they have already paid to join.

As I was researching the connections between the companies last year for my upcoming book on Amazon, I called Sinegal and left a message asking if he could talk. He called back on a Saturday and left his cell phone number, then invited me to Costco’s headquarters for a one-on-one visit. read more »


A price war is brewing in the growing market for electronic reading devices.

Barnes & Noble, the national bookseller, announced that it was dropping the price of its six-month-old Nook e-reader to $199 from $259 and introducing a new version of the device, which connects to the Internet only over Wi-Fi networks, for $149.

Responding rapidly, Amazon.com then cut the price of its popular Kindle e-reader below the Nook, to $189 from $259. read more »

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