The Opening of Amazon – 7/16/1995

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By now, Amazon has become a household name and is used by people around the world, not just the United States. However, many people have no idea how this amazing resource came into existence. It all started on July 16th, 1995, which is when Amazon finally opened for business officially. It was opened as an “online bookseller.” 

It didn’t take long at all for the business to grab the interest of people worldwide. Using the motto “get big fast,” Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos didn’t want to waste any time in expanding. After just one month, Amazon was shipping books to all 50 states in the United States, as well as 45 countries around the world. After making a name for themselves, they decided that selling books wasn’t enough. In regards to that, the Seattle-based company soon switched over to the e-commerce giant they are today. Now, they can be seen selling everything, like clothing, furniture, electronics, groceries, etc. The creation of Amazon no doubt helped revolutionize the shopping industry – both for businesses and shoppers.

Bezos’ dream all started when he began chasing an undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 1986. Going to school for computer science and electrical engineering, Bezos had a good idea of what he wanted to do. However, he didn’t know the idea he would later come up with.

After working in the financial industry for a few years in New York City, Bezos saw the Internet becoming more and more popular with the generation and saw it as an opportunity to cash in off of it. It was just one thought that changed Bezos’ life: wondering whether books would sell well online or not. That’s when he moved to Washington and based his new Amazon Company in Seattle.

Originally coined Cadabra, Bezos would end up needing to change the name of his business after someone misheard and mispronounced the company as “cadaver.” In response, Bezos decided to change the name to Amazon, after the long river in South America. He figured the new name would imply that he wouldn’t be boxed into one service or product. 

It wasn’t long until he was asking friends to check out his beta version of Amazon. On April 3, 1995, Amazon’s first order was placed. The order was for “Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies,” it was a science book. After a couple months, Amazon named itself the “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” despite sales not close to a peak yet.

That would all change nearly a year later in 1996, when Amazon had recorded revenue in the upwards of $15.7 million, which sparked to $54 million the following year. That same year, Amazon’s 1,000,000th order was placed and handled. The order was for a Windows NT manual and a biography of Princess Diana to a shopper in Japan.

A couple years later, Amazon started to add more product and categories to their online store. By 2000, it was selling books, CDs, toys, electronics, etc. They had also sold nearly 20 million items by that time, in addition to selling to 150 different countries around the globe. 

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