Amazon is opening its first physical bookstore today
Amazon got its start as an online bookseller, and now — over 20 years later — it's decided to sell books the old-fashioned way. On Tuesday, Amazon will open a store in Seattle called Amazon Books. Not only is it one of Amazon's first physical locations, but it's also Amazon's first physical bookstore. Amazon says that it won't entirely be doing things like a traditional store, however; it'll be relying on Amazon.com data — including customer ratings, sales totals, and Goodread's popularity — to decide which books to stock. Curators will have some say, too.
In addition to selling books, Amazon is also going to be putting its devices on display. Visitors will be able to try Kindles, the Echo, the Fire TV, and Fire Tablets. This very much isn't a tech store, though. Photos show this to be a book store first and foremost; but like a Barnes & Noble, it also has an additional section for related (and not-so-related) technology. One thing that Amazon's store seems to be doing differently is putting all of its books face out, rather than spine out, and putting up a placard for each of them that contains their Amazon.com rating and an actual customer review. In-store prices will all match online prices, too (which means they'll probably change while you're holding them).
The store is located in Seattle's University Village and will be open seven days a week, except for holidays. Amazon says that this is a permanent location — not just a pop-up shop — which means that Amazon Books should be around for some time to come. And theoretically, we could start to see more of them. Amazon has been experimenting with physical stores this year, and other possibly physical stores have been reported on. Nothing else has been quite so public-facing as Amazon Books, but if this first store succeeds, it's possible that Amazon will expand its book-selling empire with the very thing that it once helped to destroy: bookstores.