Amazon Opens Toy and Gadget "Stores"

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Forget Y2K — the big e-commerce countdown is the 160-odd shopping days until the shipping deadline for Christmas deliveries. Amazon is getting ready. Today the company added two new "stores" for toys and electronics.

Now we know why the virtual store has been building very real 800,000- square-foot warehouses across the country. Despite rumors that the king of online retail would get into software downloads or hardware sales by buying a company (Beyond.com or Onsale, respectively), Amazon developed the latest areas in-house. It shows, as Amazon extends its knowledgeable-storekeeper role to the new product offerings. Just as kindly advice from former Rolling Stone editors already suggests the essential music CDs every jazz or drum and bass lover should own, there are pointers on educational toys from Dr. Penelope Leach, a pediatrician and child-rearing expert Amazon has brought in. Amazon head Jeff Bezos also spoke Monday about expanding the new buying guides in the electronics area into the kind of full-fledged, independent product testing that Consumer Reports offers. MORE >>