When Did Amazon Start Selling More Than Books?

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Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is known for selling everything from books to electronics, clothing, and even groceries. But did you know that the e-commerce giant started as a humble online bookstore? In this in-depth article, we’ll take a look at when and why Amazon started selling more than just books, the impact of this diversification on its growth, and how it has influenced the e-commerce industry as a whole.


Amazon started selling more than just books when it acquired Junglee Corporation on August 5, 1998. This acquisition allowed Amazon to diversify its product offerings, and by the end of 1999, it had included CDs, DVDs, toys, and electronics into its product catalog. This diversification was driven by Amazon’s strategy of leveraging technology and cost leadership to offer maximum value to customers at the lowest price.

Amazon’s Beginnings

Founded by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994, Amazon began its journey in a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington. Initially, it was an online marketplace for books, competing with local booksellers and Barnes & Noble. The company primarily sold books, leveraging the internet’s potential to reach a wider audience than traditional bookstores.

Diversification Beyond Books

Amazon began diversifying its product offerings on August 5, 1998, when it acquired Junglee Corporation, a service that allowed people to shop for various products. The same year, Amazon expanded its product offerings by selling CDs and DVDs. By 1999, the company introduced toys and electronics into its product catalog.

This expansion was driven by several factors, including leveraging technological capabilities for business success, achieving economies of scale, and maintaining a competitive advantage. Amazon’s strategy can be described as concentric diversification, focusing on technology and cost leadership to offer maximum value to customers at the lowest price.

Impact on Amazon’s Growth

Amazon’s expansion beyond books significantly impacted the company’s growth. The diversification into various sectors, including electronics, toys, kitchenware, and magazine subscriptions, helped Amazon become a global technology giant.

The company’s growth strategy involved acquisitions and strategic partnerships, such as the purchase of Audible in 2008. Amazon’s annual revenue reached $232.9 billion in 2018, a significant increase from $8.49 billion in 2005.

Amazon’s Influence on the E-commerce Industry

Amazon’s expansion beyond books has had a profound impact on the e-commerce industry. Its growth and innovations have led to changes in customer habits, forcing both online and physical retailers to adapt and improve their services. Amazon’s success can be attributed to its focus on customer satisfaction, technological advancements, and efficient logistics.


Amazon’s journey from an online bookseller to a global marketplace is a testament to the power of diversification, innovation, and customer-centric business strategies. As the company continues to grow and expand into new markets, it will undoubtedly continue to shape the e-commerce industry and influence how we shop online.

In this article, we’ve covered Amazon’s diversification journey, its impact on the company’s growth, and its influence on the e-commerce industry. As we look to the future, it will be fascinating to see where Amazon’s relentless pursuit of innovation and customer satisfaction will lead.

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the first product category Amazon added after books?

After books, Amazon added CDs and DVDs to its product catalog in 1998.

When did Amazon acquire Audible?

Amazon acquired Audible, an online supplier of audio books, in 2008.

What is Amazon’s annual revenue as of 2018?

As of 2018, Amazon’s annual revenue reached $232.9 billion.

What is the business strategy that Amazon used for its expansion?

Amazon used a strategy known as concentric diversification, which involves diversifying into related product lines. It also focused on technology and cost leadership to offer maximum value to customers at the lowest price.

Where was Amazon founded?

Amazon was founded in a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington.

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