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These boots are made for reading

July 23, 2009 | 11:08 am


Amazon.com announced Wednesday the purchase of much-loved online shoe retailer Zappos. While it seems an odd fit -- shoes and books? -- it's been a long time since Amazon was solely (har har) an online bookseller. And it seems like this deal is not about product, but about process.

"Zappos is a company I've long admired, and for a very important reason," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a video posted about the announcement (it's after the jump). "Zappos has a customer obsession that's so easy for me to admire."

Indeed. Zappos has a reputation for providing excellent customer service; Amazon, not so much. Author Jennifer Weiner lost her Kindle on book tour and tried to get another sent to her: "Amazon needs to step up their customer service. The Kindle that cust. service said would ship Sat just shipped this morning," she Tweeted on Monday.

But maybe Amazon will learn something from Zappos. Tony Hsieh, the company's CEO, posted a letter about the deal online:

A big part of the reason why Amazon is interested in us is because they recognize the value of our culture, our people, and our brand. Their desire is for us to continue to grow and develop our culture (and perhaps even a little bit of our culture may rub off on them).

If not, the normally satisfied Zappos customers might just ... walk.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo, top left: Christian Louboutin sky-high stilletto. Credit: Kirk McKoy  / Los Angeles Times