Amazon, Zappos, and Libraries

So yesterday brought the news that Amazon acquired Zappos. For those not familiar, Zappos is a company that sells shoes (primarily, although they now sell other things) and is known for its nearly insane customer service. Seriously, they will do just about anything they can to make sure you’re happy, and are responsible for crazy customer service stories. This story about Zappos sending a woman flowers is maybe my favorite customer service story of all time. My other favorite thing about them is their “Pay new employee to quit” program.

As a result of the acquisition, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos released this youtube video

Take a minute, and watch the video…it’s worth it.

So Jeff explains a bit about the deal, and why Zappos and Amazon are a good match. According to Jeff, he only knows these things:

  • Obsess over customers
  • Invent
  • Think Long Term
  • It’s Always Day 1

Why do I mention this on what is ostensibly a blog about library science stuff? Because I feel strongly that our future isn’t in content, really…it’s in services. No one does service better than Zappos. If we take Zappos customer service strategy (do anything to make the customer happy) and the four things that Jeff Bezos knows about running a company, how could we change libraries for the better? What can we do to be the Zappos of information?


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