|Founded||November 2, 2015|
Number of locations
|Products||Books, Amazon Echo, Amazon Kindle, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire TV|
Amazon Books is a chain of retail bookstores owned by online retailer Amazon.com. The first store opened on November 2, 2015 in the University Village shopping center in Seattle, Washington near the company's headquarters in the same city. A second store near San Diego, California at the Westfield UTC opened in September 2016, and a third in Portland, Oregon the following month.
An additional store in Chicago, Illinois has also been announced, along with plans to build stores in hundreds of malls.
The Seattle location has approximately 5,000 titles stocked on its bookshelves, using shelf space to display the covers of books facing outwards instead of spines; according to Amazon, the decision was made to showcase the authors and their work, rather than efficient use of space. The shelves display positive reviews and star-ratings from the Amazon.com website and prices are matched to online equivalents.
The first Amazon Books store, located at the University Village shopping center in Seattle, Washington, opened on November 2, 2015. The store has been described as the first permanent store from Amazon, who opened pop-up shops and pickup outlets on several university campuses in 2015. In February 2016, tech news website Re/code reported that longtime Amazon executive Steve Kessel was leading the retail store initiative, having previously been part of the team to launch the first Amazon Kindle e-reader. During development of the project, it was referred to as "Project Anne" in filings with the city.
On February 2, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon planned to open as many as 400 bookstores, according to a statement from the CEO of General Growth Properties, a firm that manages over 100 shopping malls in the United States, made during an earnings call; the statement was retracted by the company the following day.
Job listings posted online in February 2016 indicated the Amazon was planning to open more Books stores in Seattle as well as in San Diego, California in the near future. In March 2016, new signage at the Westfield UTC mall in San Diego, California indicated that the second Amazon Books store would open there by the end of the year. The store opened on September 7, 2016, without an opening celebration.
In November, Amazon Books began charging non-Amazon Prime members a separate price for books and other non-electronic products, while Amazon Prime members retained the online price-matched rate.
Local bookstores in the Seattle area described weariness over the physical presence of Amazon.com, with the University Book Store in the U District noting "different spending patterns" two months after the opening of Amazon's store; an Amazon spokesperson dismissed the notion that Amazon Books would interfere with independent bookstores and their operations, stating that "offline retail is a big space with room for lots of winners".
The executive vice president of Half Price Books, a national chain of new and used bookstores, saw the interest that Amazon is showing in expanding brick-and-mortar bookstores as something good for the industry, stating in February 2016 that it was a sign that the "printed word isn't dead".
After the announcement of a third store in Portland, Oregon, CEO Miriam Sontz of local bookstore Powell's Books stated that Amazon's move to open physical stores was acknowledgement that "something special occurs in a physical bookstore that is not replicable online" and that Portland was "filled with book lovers and book buyers", quoting bank robber Willie Sutton's quip that he targeted banks "because that's where the money is".
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