Listening level: 1
Audio file: 1:35 min
Story length: 202 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.


Amazon is one of the world’s biggest shops. How did it become so large?

The history of Amazon begins in 1995.

Jeff Bezos was working in New York. He had a good job but wanted to do something different. He stopped working, moved to Seattle and started a business.

At first, he didn’t know what to sell. He liked books because they didn’t cost much. Some people said that was a bad idea, but he could see bookstores had a problem. They were too small and didn’t have many books. Jeff created a store with a million books and called it Amazon.

Jeff’s business started small. He wrote the computer program for Amazon himself. The office was in a garage and the table was made from an old door.

A few months after opening, Amazon was selling 100 books a day. Four years later, it was selling $600 million per year. People liked the easy to use web design and large number of books.

Today, Amazon sells books and other things like music and toys. In 2015, Amazon sold $1.5 billion and had 200,000 workers. That’s 20 years after starting in a small office with a table made from an old door.

More Practice

Here’s a gap fill exercise. Download the Amazon printable worksheet (pdf file). Listen to the story and fill in the blanks.

Another story

Ready for more English language lessons? Try this English listening comprehension lesson about the printing press.

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