Above is the first book — and first packing slip ever to leave Amazon’s online warehouse. Well, other than the ones employees bought on test runs, or beta users. It was purchased by computer scientist John Wainwright on April 3, 1995. It’s not a classic, nor was it on any bestseller list at the time. It’s the liner notes to the first Third Eye Blind album. It’s just a terrifically, eye-crossingly nerdy tome about computer models.
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought is the book Wainwright ordered from the baby bookseller. As he explained on Quora:
I think I ordered the book over a T-1 connection at work, I was working at Kaleida Labs, the Apple/IBM joint venture, at the time.
An Amazon exec went on to confirm Wainwright’s claims to the #1 spot. Not that there was ever much doubt; an entire building on Amazon’s campus is named after him.
Incidentally, you can still order Fluid Concepts from Amazon today for $US20 ($US14 on your Kindle. Its sales rank may be a paltry 54,863. But it’ll always be number one. [Quora via Brainpicker via The Atlantic]