nytimes_logo.gifFormer NY Times CFO Diane Baker dished about a failed partnership between her paper and Amazon.com during the rise of Internet bookselling giant–a lost opportunity to earn money off the thousands of books sales generated by the Sunday Book Review section.

The revelation came in Vanity Fair‘s recent profile of Arthur Sulzberger Jr., where Baker talked about the paper’s slow move towards digital accounting in the mid-1990′s.

Here’s an excerpt from the long profile: “Not only would the [Amazon] deal have produced revenue from book sales, it would also have cemented a partnership with a tremendous future. [Baker] envisioned the newspaper as a virtual merchandising machine. Instead of the old carpet-bombing model of advertising, it would in effect target ads to readers of specific stories. ‘You know what they said?,’ Baker recalls. ‘They said, We can’t do it, because Barnes & Noble is a big advertiser.’”