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Source: The Loop Insight
Published: August 2013

The Lichen Loophole

Circulated: May 29, 2019

In the first few years of Amazon — 1994 to 1997 — the team had to buy products from wholesalers who wouldn’t sell just one or two books — they had a ten-book minimum, and that was non-negotiable.

“The problem was, the wholesalers had 10-book minimum orders. I tried to negotiate with them and said, “Let us just pay a small fee, and you waive the 10-book order,” and so on. But they wouldn’t go for it. So we figured out a loophole. It turned out that you just had to place an order for 10 books; you didn’t actually have to get 10 books. We found an obscure book on lichens that none of our wholesalers actually carried.” — Jeff Bezos

Lichen: a simple slow-growing plant that typically forms a low crusty, leaflike, or branching growth on rocks, walls, and trees.

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