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Amazon’s new offline book store: Awesome or ridiculous?

Even though Google decided not to open a retail store location, Amazon is giving it a go with books and the result is pretty awesome.

amazon book store retail

amazon book store retail

Why go offline, Amazon?

Okay, I know, you’re skeptical. I was too. Amazon is known for two-day shipping, free music and movie streaming (with Prime membership), and near instant gratification for millions of items; so how on Earth could a physical store location work? The answer: the same way every other store does.

Amazon’s store is just like any other store, in that it provides a nice collection of things people want. In this case, books. All the books. Okay, maybe not all the books, but an extensive collection of top-rated titles along with other accessories, like headphones, charging cords, and other bookstore-type things.

Combining e-commerce experience with offline retail

Vice President of Amazon Books, Jennifer Cast, stated, “We’ve applied 20 years of online book-selling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping. The books in our stores are selected based on customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments.”

This may come as a bit of a surprise, considering Amazon, and stores like it are some of the major contributing factors behind many other bookstores’ closing; they were run out of business by Amazon’s prices and perks. So why open a store now?

An attempt to boost falling book sales

They opened the store, in part, to boost falling book sales. One precarious part of the store is that the books do not have prices. Instead, they have a sign with a short plot summary.

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If you want to know the price, you either have to use the in-store scanner, or open the Amazon app (again, boosting sales). They could easily control pricing with digital tags, but they choose not to. Why? It facilitates a conversation for “you can buy this title and others like it on”

So is it awesome or ridiculous?

While only time will tell how long the Amazon retail store will survive, I like the idea of it. I like the idea of anything that encourages people to read a book, engage the imagination, and do something other than stare at those little screens we all carry around in our daily lives. While I love a bookstore, I also love libraries.

Nothing beats the smell of the old books on the shelves, crying out with their history, and aching to be read. Maybe this is just a bibliophile’s perspective, but anything that involves books has to be a good thing. What do you think of the Amazon retail store?


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.



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