Amazon has contributed to the demise of more than a few bricks-and-mortar bookstores since the company began as an online bookstore, selling its first book in 1995. So, it came as a surprise to everyone when it opened its first physical bookstore in 2015 in Seattle.

On Thursday, Amazon will open its first New York brick-and-mortar bookstore, bringing its total to seven. This summer, it plans on opening another on 34th street. Even Jeff Bezos couldn’t have predicted this.

“The Internet is disrupting every media industry,” he said in an interview in 2013. “People can complain about that, but complaining is not a strategy. And Amazon is not happening to book selling, the future is happening to book selling.”

The New York location is, ironically, at the center of the publishing industry in Midtown Manhattan. It is on the third floor of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, which was once home to a Borders bookstore that closed its door in 2011. A few blocks away, a large Barnes & Noble closed after 16 years of selling books. Penguin Random House is less than 20 mins away on foot, while Hachette’s Midtown headquarters is down the block.

Amazon, which has become a powerful book retailer, has continued its expansion into every inch of the publishing industry. According to Codex Group, a book research firm, Amazon accounts for about half of all book sales -- print and e-books -- in the United States.

The new store, which is 4,000 square-foot, features nearly 3,000 books, all with their covers facing the outside. Amazon uses its data to curate sections throughout the store. There is an “If you like this” section and a display for books with more than 10,000 reviews. To be in the “page-turners” section, the e-books version has to have been read by customers in three or fewer days. The store only carries books with 4-star reviews or more, with a few exceptions.

There’s no pricing in the store. The only way to check how much a book cost is to use an online scanner or the Amazon app on your phone. Amazon Prime subscribers pay the current Amazon price, while non-Prime customers pay the full retail price -- a problem that can be quickly be solved by signing up for a trial Prime subscription. Purchases are made with either a credit card or through the Amazon app. Cash is not welcome.

Amazon plans on opening six mores bookstores by the end of the year.







Tag: Books