Amazon Books
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryRetail
FoundedNovember 2, 2015; 6 years ago (2015-11-02)
Defunct2022 (2022)
ProductsBooks, Amazon Echo, Amazon Kindle, Kindle Fire, Amazon Fire TV Amazon Basics
OwnerAmazon
Websiteamazon.com/amazonbooks

Amazon Books was a chain of retail bookstores owned by online retailer Amazon. The first store opened on November 2, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. On March 2, 2022, it was reported that all Amazon Books would close on various dates in the future.[1]

Products

The first location in Seattle had 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 displayed positive reviews and star-ratings from the Amazon.com website and prices were matched to online equivalents.[2][3]

The store also sold Amazon electronics, including the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, the Kindle Fire tablet series, the Amazon Echo, and the Amazon Fire TV.[4][2] Two locations of Amazon Books had a cafe.

History

The first Amazon Books store opened on November 2, 2015, located at the University shopping center in Seattle, Washington.[2] The store has been described as the first permanent store from Amazon,[5] who opened pop-up shops and pickup outlets on several university campuses in 2015.[6] 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.[7] During development of the project, it was referred to as "Project Anne" in filings with the city.[8]

Amazon Books opened its third store in the Washington Square mall in the Portland metropolitan area.
Amazon Books opened its third store in the Washington Square mall in the Portland metropolitan area.

On February 2, 2016, a CEO of a shopping center owner claimed that Amazon planned to open as many as 400 bookstores;[9][10][11] the statement was retracted by the company the following day.[12]

Amazon Books' second store opened on September 7, 2016, in San Diego, California,[13]. It was followed by openings at Washington Square near Portland, Oregon,[14] Legacy Place in Dedham, Massachusetts,[15] Chicago, New York City, and Paramus, New Jersey. Other stores in New York City, Bellevue, Washington, Atlanta, Georgia, Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles) were expected to open between 2017 and 2019.[16][17][18][19]

In November 2016, 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.[20]

On March 2, 2022, it was reported that all Amazon Books would close. In addition to the bookstores, Amazon will close its 4-star and pop up stores on various dates in the future.[1]

Reception

Local bookstores in the Seattle area described wariness 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."[21]

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."[22]

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 an 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."[23]

The New Yorker, covering the first New York City store opening at Columbus Circle, called it in a headline "Not Built for People Who Actually Read," continuing to say the store is "designed to further popularize, on Amazon, that which is already popular on Amazon."[24]

References

  1. ^ a b Dastin, Jeffrey (2022-03-02). "Amazon to shut bookstores, some other physical shops in turning point". Reuters. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  2. ^ a b c Greene, Jay (November 2, 2015). "Amazon opening its first real bookstore — at U-Village". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  3. ^ McGreal, Chris (November 5, 2015). "Amazon boldly goes where no internet bookseller has gone before: the real world". The Guardian. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  4. ^ "Amazon Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (November 2, 2015). "Amazon is opening its first physical bookstore today". The Verge. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  6. ^ Stewart, Janine (October 14, 2015). "Here's where Amazon's next brick-and-mortar store will be". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  7. ^ Del Ray, Jason (February 3, 2016). "Meet the Guy Behind Amazon's Secret Retail Store Plans". Re/code. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Lerman, Rachel (October 8, 2015). "U Village rumors fly that Amazon bookstore is coming". The Seattle Times. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  9. ^ Bensinger, Greg (February 2, 2016). "Amazon Plans Hundreds of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores, Mall CEO Says". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  10. ^ Machkovech, Sam (February 2, 2016). "Mall CEO claims Amazon Books will open up to 400 physical storefronts". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  11. ^ Mihalcik, Carrie; Rubin, Ben Fox (February 2, 2016). "Amazon's novel idea: Physical bookstores". CNET. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  12. ^ Weise, Elizabeth (February 3, 2016). "Mall owner backtracks from Amazon bookstore statement". USA Today. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  13. ^ Van Grove, Jennifer (September 14, 2016). "Amazon Books opens in San Diego". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  14. ^ Marum, Anna (October 24, 2016). "Amazon's bookstore at Washington Square: Exclusive sneak peek". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Hilliard, John (February 26, 2017). "Amazon gives customers a peek at its first Mass. bookstore". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
  16. ^ Zumbach, Lauren (August 25, 2016). "Amazon plans to open a Chicago bookstore in Lakeview". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  17. ^ Gould, Jennifer (July 3, 2016). "Amazon set to rival NYC's bookstores with Hudson Yards spot". New York Post. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  18. ^ McMurtrie, John (February 14, 2017). "Amazon to open bookstore in Bay Area". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  19. ^ "Amazon Books heading to Pacific Palisades as new village center takes shape". Los Angeles Times. 13 March 2018.
  20. ^ Soper, Taylor (November 1, 2016). "Amazon charges non-Prime members more at physical bookstores, hinting at new retail strategy". GeekWire. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  21. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (January 21, 2016). "Seattle bookstores face new threat from Amazon: a brick-and-mortar location". The Guardian. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  22. ^ Halkias, Maria (February 3, 2016). "What Dallas-based Half Price Books has to say about Amazon opening bookstores: Print is alive". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  23. ^ Cook, John (June 17, 2016). "Amazon venturing onto Powell's home turf, picks Portland for third brick-and-mortar bookstore". GeekWire. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  24. ^ Tolentino, Jia (2017-05-30). "Amazon's Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores Are Not Built for People Who Actually Read". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2018-04-24.