Adds Video Sales

The world's "number one book and CD retailer" is now in the movie business. Last week, officially launched its video-sales division, offering more than 60,000 titles on video tape and more than 2000 on DVD. Prices are discounted 25-30% from the suggested list price.

Amazon's Web site is logically designed and easy to navigate, with quick links to areas of interest. Armchair astronauts can link to a cluster of films on the subject of space, including both science fiction and documentaries. For example, the DVD of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey is available for $17.48, which is 30% off its list price of $24.98. The discount price is equal to the cost of the Pleasantville soundtrack CD at Tower Records; obviously, maintaining brick-and-mortar square footage does drive up the cost of goods.

Godzilla, the current best seller in home video, is $22.49 on DVD, a 25% reduction from list. DVDs with a list price of $34.98, such as Apollo 13: The Collector's Edition and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, are typically $24.49. Star Trek: Generations lists for $29.99, but you can get it for $20.99 through Films priced at $24.98---the majority of releases on DVD---are $17.49. Among the popular films in this category are Blade Runner: The Director's Cut, Contact, Dark City, Dune, and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. also has a good selection of international and art-house features, including the works of the late Akira Kurosawa. Some relatively obscure films can be found here as well, such as Nico Icon, a documentary about German chanteuse Nico, who performed with the legendary rock group The Velvet Underground in the late 1960s. More adventurous video fans can leap from the obscure to the completely unknown with titles such as Headcandy: Sidney's Psychedelic Adventure.

Although prices are good across the board at, careful shoppers can find better deals elsewhere on certain titles. Star Trek: Generations is a buck cheaper at NetFlix, but Apollo 13: The Collector's Edition is $3.50 more. Bargain hunters are advised to compare carefully.

Amateur film reviewers can submit their opinions (1000 words maximum, with emphasis on the film's content) for possible publication on the Web site. Reviews of favorite films might become part of the permanent archive and could influence other fans. No mention is made anywhere on the site of monetary compensation for such reviews, and none should be expected. (On the Internet, a feature like this is known as "free content.")