Trivia

Hard

The First Book Sold By Amazon.com Was A Tome About?

Electronic Commerce
Artificial Intelligence
World War II History
Cajun Recipes
The first edition cover of Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by Douglas Hofstadter.
Harvester Wheatsheaf/Pearson plc

Answer: Artificial Intelligence

Today Amazon is a commerce juggernaut, but once upon a time back in the early days of the World Wide Web, it was just a tiny startup that wasn’t even open to the public yet. It was back then, in 1995, that computer scientist John Wainwright ordered the very first book from the fledgling book seller.

Armed with an invite-only beta account and, what we have to presume was a thirst for some light bedtime reading, Wainwright ordered a copy of Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought—a meaty tome about computer cognition and the possibilities of creative computer thought.

Although Wainwright kept both the book and the packing slip it came with as a memento of his first (and the very first) Amazon purchase, it turns out that may not have been necessary. Despite nearly three decades of transformation at Amazon, his original order is still listed in his order history.

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