When Amazon opened its cyber-doors in July 1995, the site was just a page of text separated by headlines and topped by the company's first logo -- a capital letter A, with what was supposed to be a river flowing through it. Even then, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos claimed it was “Earth’s biggest bookstore,” and now it certainly is that, and a whole lot more. The first book sold on Amazon was ordered by software engineer John Wainwright in April 1995. Using a beta version of the site, he purchased Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter, a book about artificial intelligence.
When the Amazon idea clicked:
- Wainwright even kept the sales slip for the book, which reads: “Thanks for shopping at Amazon.com!”
- Bezos originally wanted to call his company Cadabra, as in “abracadabra,” but when his attorney thought he said “Cadaver,” Bezos decided to go with an alternative.
- The first sale was important to Bezos. There’s now a building on Amazon's sprawling Seattle campus named after Wainwright, who spent just $27.95 USD to earn a place in tech history.