Irony: Amazon Opens a Bookstore in Seattle


Irony: Amazon Opens a Bookstore in Seattle

By Burt Carey

Business can be odd at times. Just ask anyone at Amazon. After the Seattle-based online retail behemoth opened a brick-and-mortar bookstore this week, virtually every industry analyst was caught marveling at the irony of such a move.
For years Amazon ruthlessly cut prices on new books that that helped lead to the demise of Borders Books, Waldenbooks, B. Dalton and Crown Books, among others, leaving just one nationwide book retailer, Barnes & Noble. By opening an actual store front in Seattle called Amazon Books, the world’s largest retailer has stepped into a business model it helped destroy less than a decade ago.

Well, sort of.Amazon, bookstore, Seattle, online, book sales, competition, irony

The business model Amazon brings to retail contains more than two decades of online book sales experience that will help keep some 6,000 top titles moving on and off the shelves in a retail space of just 5,500 square feet. That’s two decades worth of data that gives Amazon more than just an inkling as to what Seattle readers will want and buy, thus solving the age-old retailers’ issue of stocking shelves with titles that collect dust for months before being returned to publishers.

For its initial opening, Amazon Books was stocked with titles based on customer ratings at, known sales, pre-orders, Goodreads popularity and other factors. One section will feature favorites selected by store staff. This week, the section includes some of CEO Jeff Bezos’ picks, such as “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker, and even a novel written by his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, “Traps.”

Amazon executives are being mum about the store’s strategy, either as a stand-alone venture or for future expansion into other markets. “We’re completely focused on this bookstore,” said Amazon Books vice president Jennifer Cast. “We hope this is not our only one. But we’ll see.”

Shoppers at Amazon Books immediately noticed a difference from this store compared to other bookstores. Here the books are stacked with their covers facing outward. Other retailers typically display books by their spines to conserve space and fit more books on each shelf.

Below the books are cards with ratings and reviews about them written by Amazon customers.

Unlike its competitors, Amazon Books tells customers to feel free to browse through the store then go buy their book online. “Walk out of the store with a book; lighten your load and buy it online; buy an eBook for your Kindle; or add a product to your Amazon Wish List, so someone else can buy it,” suggests Cast.

And yes, the store has space set aside for its lines of Kindle, Echo, Fire TV and the Fire Tablet. Customers can talk with company experts about those devices. The store will not, however, act as a pick-up or delivery point for other business.

Amazon Books is situated in the upscale University Village (locals call it U-Village), an outdoor mall north of the University of Washington campus. Apple and Microsoft also have stores there.


Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle