Amazon’s First Bookstore

Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle, Washington on 2 November last year.  At first glance it looks like any other bookstore, but there are important differences.  All the books are priced at the same prices as on amazon.com.  The books are shown cover-out, rather than spine-out.   The books are arranged by genre and by the number of stars received on Amazon.com.  Included by each book is a review that a customer has placed on the Amazon website.  The photos below are from Time Magazine.

Customers shop inside Amazon Books in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The online retailer Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Seattle's upscale University Village mall. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

General View of Amazon’s First Bookshop

A customer shops at Amazon Books in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The online retailer Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Seattle's upscale University Village mall. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

Reminder about price policy

A customer shops at Amazon Books in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The online retailer Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Seattle's upscale University Village mall. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

Notice the reviews below each book

Customers shop at Amazon Books in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The online retailer Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Seattle's upscale University Village mall. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

There is also a Kindle station

Inside The First Amazon.com Inc. Brick And Mortar Bookstore

There is a Most-Wished-For section reflecting habits on amazon.com

Inside The First Amazon.com Inc. Brick And Mortar Bookstore

Behind the checkout counter, Amazon displays books that are popular that week.

In the store, customers can try out Amazon’s electronic gadgets: including the Fire TV streaming device, Fire tablet and Kindle electronic reader.

The prices, the cover-out displays, the star ratings and the customer reviews will certainly be attractive to many customers.  Will other book sellers move to copy Amazon?  I doubt it.  The prices, star ratings and customer reviews are unique to Amazon, as are its electronic gadgets.  Over the weekend, I visited a Waterstone’s bookstore near home, and a found that selected books have a small card below them on which were hand-written comments by store employees.  While the cover-out display is attractive, I doubt that it is a feature which will be widely copied, because it results in a dramatic reduction in the number of titles which can be displayed is a store of a given size.

Still the store format does an excellent job promoting the Amazon brand, even it, at the prices charged, the staff employed, and the brick and mortar rental, it will probably lose money – unless the store sells a lot more than a conventional bookstore of the same size.

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