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5 Strategies Bezos Used to Build Amazon’s Empire

Amazon's breakneck-paced growth is born out of these ideas

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1. Be like the Godfather: Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

In 2004, Amazon set its sights on the Melville House. The boutique publisher of serious fiction and nonfiction based in Brooklyn, N.Y., was just a fledgling company when things got tense with Amazon. Co-owner Dennis Johnson recalls his distributor calling him and describing negotiations with Amazon “like dinner with the Godfather.”

As The New Yorker reports, Amazon “wanted a payment without having to reveal how many Melville House books were sold on the site.” Johnson was critical of the policy, and shared his concerns with literary trade magazine Publishers Weekly. A day after it published a story on Johnson, the “Buy” button on Melville House’s Amazon pages suddenly vanished. 

So Johnson, who’s since blogged of Amazon’s war on books, decided to pony up. “I paid that bribe,” he says, “and the books reappeared.”

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