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Amazon sold a record 426 items a second in pre-Xmas push

It's been another record festive season for the online retailer, with its Kindle and Kindle Fire devices flying off the shelves.

Looks like it was a very merry Christmas for Jeff Bezos and co. Amazon has reported this Christmas was its biggest ever. On Cyber Monday alone, eager consumers all around the world snapped up 36.8 million items from the site -- that works out at about 426 every second. Blimey.

Amazon's Prime service -- which gives you faster delivery at no extra cost -- was also hugely successful over the festive season. In the third week of December, more than a million people signed up for the service.

Amazon claims its Kindle e-book readers and Kindle Fire tablets topped its bestseller lists, though it won't say exactly how many it sold. Amazon makes little or on profit on its own devices, instead making money on all the e-books, films, TV shows and music people buy from Amazon to enjoy on them.

At their height, Amazon says it was selling about 1,000 units of the PS4 and Xbox One every minute.

The latest Amazon tablets feature the Mayday service, which shows a real-life tech expert on screen, so they can talk you through how to solve whatever issue you're having with your device. This has also performed better than expected. Amazon claims the average response time was just nine seconds. Beats being kept on hold to a premium-rate customer service line, listening to that terrible music they always play.

However, it's not all been champagne and roses for Amazon this year. A BBC reporter went undercover to work in one of the company's warehouses, and reported that the working conditions were pretty dire. They were so bad, a stress expert claimed they could lead to mental and physical illness.

Brad Stone's The Everything Store also came out this year. It charts the rise of Amazon, and portrays its founder Jeff Bezos as something of a prickly character, to say the least. Bezos' own wife gave the book a one-star review, on Amazon, of course.

What do you think of Amazon? Are there more ethical alternatives? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.