Amazon.com is acquiring Goodreads, a site for readers and book recommendations that helps people find and share books they love.
Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content, said Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading and the website has helped change how Amazon discover and discuss books.
"In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike,” he said.
A brewing conflict between Amazon.com and its merchants over fee hikes could benefit rival eBay, and provide an opening for Wal-Mart Stores and Google, which are just getting into the space.
Amazon's online bazaar generates margins many times higher than traditional retail as the company takes a cut of every sale on its site made by a merchant, known as a third-party seller, and charges extra fees for handling logistics.
Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 8.9, the large-screen version of its best-selling tablet is now in Japan, as well as in the the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain.
It was made available at a lower the price than the US, with the Wi-Fi version being sold for only USD269 while the price for the 4G version starts at USD399.
Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle, explained that as the company expanded Kindle Fire HD 8.9" to Europe and Japan, it was able to increase production volumes and decrease the cost.
Now, Amazon has its own currency. The Amazon coin will debut in the US in May and the company said it can pay for apps, games and other in-app items available on Kindle Fire.
For a start, the retail giant said it will give customers "tens of millions of dollars' worth of free coins to spend. Then it will roll out a scheme how customers can purchase additional coins for succeeding purchases.
Amazon announced on Tuesday a new in-App purchasing service that allows developers to let customers use their Amazon accounts to purchase virtual goods and currencies from within Mac, PC and Web-based games.
Under the scheme, Mac, PC and Web, Android and Kindle Fire developers would be able to offer Amazon customers a convenient, trusted and secure buying experience.
The Amazon MP3 store is now optimized for iPhone and iPod touch, allowing users to discover and buy digital music from Amazon’s 22-million song catalog using the Safari browser.
The Amazon MP3 mobile website for iPhone and iPod touches is built on HTML5, which means customers can make purchases directly from the Amazon MP3 mobile website www.amazon.com/mp3 on their iPhones and iPod touches.
Customers will also have access to Amazon features like personalized recommendations, best-seller lists and Amazon customer ratings.
Amazon unveiled this week a new service that gives customers free MP3 versions of CDs they purchase from Amazon.
Through Amazon AutoRip, customers who buy music CDs will automatically get its free MP3 version made available through their Cloud Player libraries. The service is free of charge and available immediately for playback or download. There is no need for the CD to arrive.
2012 was a record-breaking holiday season for businesses selling on Amazon, with more than two million third-party sellers reporting record holiday growth.
Amazon said unit growth solely from sellers in the US increased more than 40 percent year-over-year. Sellers sold hundreds of millions of units worth tens of billions of dollars worldwide.
“We value the breadth and depth of selection that businesses selling on Amazon offer our more than 188 million active customers worldwide,” said Peter Faricy, VP for Amazon Marketplace.
Increasing internet subscribers and mobile phone users along with rising incomes and an influx of foreign consumer products into China have led to a rapid expansion of the e-commerce market, which was virtually non-existent half a decade ago.
Amazon has launched a free Kindle bookstore application to sell e-books on its Chinese website, a move widely seen as a prelude to Kindle tablets' entry into China, the world's biggest mobile device market.
Amazon, with its Kindle series of electronic ink screen and touch screen tablet computers, is the world's biggest online bookstore and e-book reader vendor.
But its Chinese website only sold real books and other goods without Kindle tablets and services though Amazon started China business a decade ago.