The book industry’s favourite monster does not let us down when it comes to news. Here is what I found worth looking at.

amazonIn what could turn into a Ground Hog Day issue for Amazon, the European commission has finally got up on its legs to look at the tax deals that have made the company’s European operations so wonderful. For now, the conclusion is that the Luxembourg government has granted illegal state aid when, in 2003, it agreed in writing on a certain income that Amazon would be taxable upon. Just imagine you going to the taxman saying „That’s my income, honest, no need to look at the paperwork“. Which is basically what happened.

If the commission’s stance should be held up by the courts, this could mean some juicy fines for Luxembourg and a hefty bill for Amazon (here is the Commission’s statement, if you‘re keen on reading some Buroquois).

Last week I told you about the astonishing scoop Amazon landed in signing up Woody Allen to direct a series for its streaming service Prime Instant Video. Now it is again upping the ante with plans to become a fully fledged producer of movies for cinematic release. Only, but significant difference to what the incumbent Hollywood behemoths are doing: the Amazon movies will be available online 30 to 60 days following their debut in cinemas. Shooting will start in mid-2015, with 12 movies planned per year.

On more familiar ground, Amazon says that its Sunday deliveries in the UK have quadrupled compared to 2013 as online shopping becomes ever more popular in that country. The service is available to Prime customers in the metropolitan areas, and Amazon said it is aiming to expand the  service by growing its logistics operations through partnerships with local and regional partners. Once again, no numbers are available to check up on the claims.

Coming to a college near you, at least in the US: Amazon’s foray into brick- and-mortar-based bookselling has not yet happened, but at least it has started to replace the odd university bookstore, with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst being the latest college to hand over bookselling to the gentle giant (following deals with Purdue and UC at Davies). From May, students can get new and used textbooks through Amazon. Amherst is getting rid of the traditional campus bookstore, and students are supposed to save up to 400 US$ per year. Greeks bearing gifts, anyone?

But of course, not everything is always fine and dandy on planet Amazon: Only six weeks after launching the „Elements“ brand of baby essentials, the company has pulled the plug, citing „design flaws“. Whether the stuff was simply not up to scratch (or, in case of diapers, too much up to scratch) we don’t know.

Not only Elements seems to have been a pooper – Amazon also quietly buried its Mobile Wallet experiment, which was designed to give PayPal and others a run for their money. This one lasted six months and never left the Beta stage. You could manage store credits and other stuff with it, but not – and that may have been the crucial flaw – credit cards. If only someone had told Amazon that people like using credit cards…