Suddenly, Amazon wants you to buy the one thing you'd never expect

What is going on at Amazon? It's clearly something very strange. Why on earth is the company peddling this of all particular things?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Quite unbelievable.

(A screenshot from Amazon's ad.)

Chris Matyszczyk/Screenshot

I sense shudders at Amazon.

The whole Whole Foods thing doesn't seem to have worked out so swimmingly.

The whole keeping-your-employees-happy thing doesn't appear to have done so well either.

And as for the whole knowing-and-understanding-your-customers-by-stalking-them, well, Amazon seems perturbingly poor at that, as I recently discovered.

Jeff Bezos's old concern is trying to remedy that by buying my healthcare provider, One Medical. But honestly, Amazon, you might soon discover the state of my stomach, but it won't help you sell me on Whole Foods.

I was inwardly digesting all this when news reached me of a truly startling development, one that makes me wonder if the world is spinning in a new direction.

You see, Amazon is spending large sums of money to sell me -- and you, too -- on something called books.

You may not remember these things, but Amazon built its vast ethereal edifice on the spines of the world's literature. Not everyone can recall, I'm sure, the sheer wonder of receiving a book the day after one ordered it.

Yes, it enraged bookstores and publishers, but now Amazon is making bookishly nice.

For here, in a new ad, are real human beings becoming so absorbed in their books that the worlds within those books come to life before their very eyes.

Monsters, cartoon characters and other strange happenings occur, and our readers don't notice. Presumably, because they already see it all in their minds.

No, it's not an original idea. Which is presumably why Amazon's ad agency had to spend a lot of money to make it seem dramatic.

But still, Amazon is advertising books. Who'd have ever thought?

"That Reading Feeling Awaits," concludes the ad.

Personally, that reading feeling helps me get through that work feeling, that annoying feeling and that Oh-God-the-flight-is-delayed-again feeling.

Yet there's one even more discombobulating aspect to this ad and the message it conveys. The majority of real human actors in this ad are reading a paper book rather than a Kindle.

Amazon has peddled Kindles at me for the longest time. I just won't do it. I'd no more read a Kindle than eat Cockroach A La Plancha on a reality TV show.

A paper book is alive with odors and wonder. A Kindle is alive with lifelessness.

Paper book sales are actually going up, even if readership is going down.

So I'm still driven to a peculiar sense of wonder that Amazon is advertising books.

Whatever next? Amazon winning employer of the year?

Editorial standards