1 year of Amazon in Italy

As you might guessed it from my writing style or something else, I am Italian, so I guess it would be nice to tell some stories that might be not known outside the country.

One year ago Amazon started to operate in Italy.

They started with a viral campaign in Rome and Milan with a box with amazon logo (no name on it) and the slogan "it's not the usual box". Well, now you might not understand it, but we have a way to say "dare un pacco" (give a box) that means "to cheat sb". (ex: "that seller gave me a box!" might also mean "that seller cheated me!"). So this has caught the attention, because no name on the advertisement, just the "amazon smile" and the slogan that could also be understood as "it's not the usual scam"

Just a couple of billboards and the media talked all over of it. For free. Brilliant.

They added the whole ISBN catalog to their website, carrying preorders for books not on stock: probably it is the only company in Italy that will charge the credit card only at shipping time, instead of order time. If the book is out of stock, you just order it, you will be charged only when they ship it. Awesome, right?

Some publisher did not like this idea and complained:

We are a publisher of poetry and stories. We sell our books exclusively on our ecommerce. It's not possible to find our book anywhere else. But from today we are on Amazon.it. How Amazon could sell our books without our permission? [...] It's unfair!

Actually, if I were a publisher, I would be extremely excited to have my books listed for free on a mainstream catalog instead of an obscure ecommerce!

Of course Amazon just removed their books from the store, and that publisher was even happy about that!

I would like to say thank you to Amazon to remove us from their marketplace, understanding our problem. This is a good signal. [...]

I wonder how they can be happy about this, I took hours to find this story again on Google (I read it months ago), due to the obscurity of this publisher...

What I find revolutionary about this company is how they care about the customer. For example at work my computer was infected by a virus, and it had a strange redirect on the amazon login page: it became in English suddenly, asking SSN and ATM PIN number. After I contacted the customer service, not only they immediately understood the problem, but they called me on my mobile phone (calling a mobile phone in Italy is ridiculously expensive), forcing me to change the password.

Another day I added my friend address to send a gift when I was abroad, they called me again to make sure I'm not a scammer! How many ecommerce websites would do that??

Another way to advertise themselves is that they applied a 30% discount to the whole Italian books ISBN catalog. Awesome idea!

Was the government happy that a foreign company invested millions to build an huge warehouse (probably the bigger in the country) and hiring hundreds of people in a period of economic crisis?

No, of course! A new law, dubbed "anti-amazon law" was created, forbidding to retailers to apply a discount bigger than 15% on books!

Even the publisher itself can't discount their own books, they can do at most 25%, for at most 30 days, at selected locations.

Weird! That is a crazy way to limit the culture in a period where the people has to save money.

Who will buy remainders and unsold stock at just 15% of discount???

I guess I have to say farewell to that old, unsold books, sold at just 1€ (90% discount) in supermarkets...