20 years after the retailer began selling publications on an online store, Amazon has today unveiled a new plan that might confuse some, opening its first physical bookstore at a University Village in Seattle called Amazon Books.
The store will stock a selection of around 6,000 titles, all of which will be put in based on their reviews and sales data from Amazon.com, which will also regulate their price.
“To give you more information as you browse, our books are face-out, and under each one is a review card with the Amazon.com customer rating and a review. You can read the opinions and assessments of Amazon.com’s book-loving customers to help you find great books,” said Jennifer Cast, the vice-president of Amazon Books. “We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.”
At moment however this is just one location, but Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association told The Guardian that it could result in huge growth for the book industry, stating:
“If they expand it across the US and come to the UK, then the more high street presence there is for physical books the better.”
Not everyone agree with that statement however, with James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones providing the following statement to the BBC:
“With only 5,000 titles in a space in which Waterstones would put over 10 times that number, it appears to be a tentative dip of the toe into physical bookselling waters.
Clearly, however, a skim of the bestsellers away from true bookshops would be very damaging: we very much hope that it falls flat on its face.”
It will certainly be interesting to see how this affects the bookstore industry as a whole, and if it will come to fruition, but as with most things only time will tell.