Online retailer Amazon opened its first physical book store in Seattle Tuesday. The new book store will act as a normal brick and mortar store for physical books, but will feature added bonuses including matched low prices with Amazon’s online store, customer reviews on book displays, and a shop layout and inventory based upon what’s popular at their digital storefront.
The shop will reportedly hold up to 6,000 books, and despite the vice president of Amazon Books, Jennifer Cast, telling the Seattle Times, “We hope this is not our only one,” she added that there are currently no plans to open another.
An email sent out to Amazon customers read, “We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.”
The opening comes after recent predictions that Barnes and Noble’s Nook e-reader series would be defunct within a year, due to the more popular competition of the Amazon Kindle.
Despite having a wide variety of books based on Amazon.com metrics and up to 6,000 in-store titles, it is clear as to what the new store won’t be selling. Last month, the online marketplace revealed that all multi-streaming products from its Amazon Prime Video rivals, Apple and Google, would be removed from Amazon.com before November due to supposed devices not “interacting well” with Prime Video, Amazon’s video streaming service.
As well as the above features for the new Seattle store, the store will employ 15 staff members who were hired directly from other small local book stores nearby. This decision not only tries to put the company in a good and locally-focused light, but also attempts to squash expected criticism from people complaining further about Amazon’s monopolistic expansion towards small brick and mortar book shops.
The new store has warranted a mixed reaction on social media:
Just in case you don't feel like clicking, THIS is why I love Amazon's first brick and mortar store. Look close! pic.twitter.com/O1JorN3FB2
— Jane McGonigal (@avantgame) November 3, 2015
After closing chain of physical stores with its online pitch. Life comes full circle. Amazon now opening bookstore. https://t.co/ZSg1x6Issg
— Vijay Shekhar (@vijayshekhar) November 3, 2015
Love how Amazon is reinventing the very thing it killed: physical bookstores https://t.co/UAO6t4nvIG
— Sachin Rekhi (@sachinrekhi) November 3, 2015
Many of those both praising and criticizing the store seem to share the same view regarding the new Seattle store as a physical Amazon showroom, or advertisement, instead of the next Barnes and Noble contender.
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