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Footnotes 2017-2018 > Amazon Opens First Bookstore- and it "Sucks the Fun out of Buying Books"

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message 1: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments https://qz.com/990164/amazons-first-b...

I didn't even know Amazon was trying their hand at opening brick-and-morter bookstores. Looks like the first attempt opens today (In an old Borders) in NYC. The article is pretty one-sided and negative towards Amazon- highlighting the fun of discovering new books, enjoyment of perusing shelves, and compares the strengths and individuality of independent bookstores.

Interesting points for those who don't want to read the article
-Square footage is about 4,000. WAAAY smaller than B&N average of 25,000
-Books are displayed cover-out, instead of spine-out
-Books have a "tag" below showing what percentage of readers gave it 5 stars, and other book info
-Only books with an amazon rating of 4+ are featured (with the exception of "bestsellers" and popular now books
-To check the price, you have to scan the book with an app. Then buy via app, or via your amazon prime account (assuming you have one)

My thoughts-
Seems like books are sorted via algorithm on their likelihood to sell, then organized appropriately. Seems confusing, and like it would be difficult to find a book.

I love the idea of displaying covers instead of spines. I often find books on overdrive simply by their covers.

I wonder if the store will integrate Goodreads now that the two are linked.


message 2: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8630 comments Joi wrote: "-To check the price, you have to scan the book with an app. Then buy via app, or via your amazon prime account (assuming you have one)..."

I don't have a smart phone. Doesn't sound like the store would work for me at all. How disappointing that would be if I one day walked in, not knowing. So, I guess I just wouldn't be able to buy a book, even if I wanted to? Hmmmmmm

Is the reason for that to not have to pay real people?

I agree that it doesn't sound like it would be easy to find a specific book.


message 3: by Marina (new)

Marina (sonnenbarke) Amazon had already opened a physical bookstore in Seattle many months ago as far as I know. Maybe even one year ago.


message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments This is funny. I wonder why it's so small? I wonder what the point of it is? Can you buy kindle books and load them in the store?


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Pope (jenjunum) | 902 comments I do kind of like that it's like walking through the Internet. Like a tourist attraction more than someone's every day book store.


message 6: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Marina wrote: "Amazon had already opened a physical bookstore in Seattle many months ago as far as I know. Maybe even one year ago."

Amazon has multiple "AmazonBooks" stores- one in Seattle, we have one in Oregon here. I think they're mainly focused on bringing kindles to a new market (ie old people who don't use the internet as much). The big Seattle thing was the "AmazonGo" store that features no check-out lines since items are motion censored and purchased via app.

I think this store is using a completely different book-sales model than the others so far. I'm not 100% sure, I haven't been to the AmazonBooks store- but I'm honestly assuming they will push this sales model to any "older" stores.


message 7: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments LibraryCin wrote: "I don't have a smart phone. Doesn't sound like the store would work for me at all.."

I don't know if they have a way to pay for books other than using an amazon account. I think one of the main drives for the store is to get people to upgrade to prime memberships. But that doesn't make much sense to me- "Here's a great book! Now buy it in your kindle. Or have it shipped to you for free with your prime account. Don't actually take it home and read it now! "


message 8: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8630 comments Joi wrote: ""Here's a great book! Now buy it in your kindle. Or have it shipped to you for free with your prime account. Don't actually take it home and read it now! " ..."

Haha! Yeah, seems like an odd way to do things...


message 9: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8630 comments I'm now taking time to read the article.

The mention of the 1st "bricks and mortar" Amazon store, I think, means the first one in NYC.

This is the first paragraph and I had to read the first sentence again, after reading the last sentence in this paragraph:

"Tomorrow (May 25), Amazon will open its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in New York City. The store is on the third floor of a shopping behemoth in Columbus Circle, where a Borders closed its doors in 2011, just blocks away from where a massive Barnes & Noble sold books for 16 years before it, too, closed. A second Manhattan location will open on 34th Street this summer, adding to the 13 total bookstores planned to be open by the end of the year (currently, there are six stores open)."


message 10: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8630 comments I see that you don't need a phone to scan for the price; it says they do have in-store scanners, but I didn't see how you would pay for it if you are using the in-store scanner for the price because you don't have a phone or the app. I suppose the next step would be getting that phone and the app... and Amazon Prime.

Even if I could pay in cash, if prices are twice as high without an Amazon Prime membership, I guess I wouldn't be shopping there, anyway. I don't want an Amazon Prime membership, and I won't pay double for the book if I can order it online and have it delivered to my house without paying double and still not having that Prime membership.


message 11: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7202 comments I won't be using their brick and mortar stores. I still have a dumb phone.


message 12: by Anita (last edited May 27, 2017 07:51AM) (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6543 comments Such a negative review, lol.

My sense is that this bricks and mortar store is first and foremost about building Amazon branding and secondarily about continuing to smother the competition. I'm pretty sure that opening a bookstore in NYC is not a money making concept no matter what you do given the rents. I think this concept sounds kinda interesting to browse, and I can see them signing up some people for Prime and sell some Kindles (probably a bunch), but it sounds like it is not really designed to sell books as its primary mission. It's brand reinforcement - - books plus tech plus Prime. And before you know it, you are sucked into their vortex ordering everything from pet food to ziploc bags. I think they could care less about selling low margin books at these bookstores frankly. They want to touch customers with a human to get them online and ordering - - something, anything.

I confess, I bought their stock at $150, and it's over $900 . . .it's beyond the imagination what they have done in the face of so many naysayers on Wall Street. Oh, they aren't making a profit . . .their stock will never do well if they don't make a profit. So little insight into consumer behavior and the value of focusing on customer satisfaction. I suspect stores are definitely not about delivering "fun", but rather to handhold customers who are less technologically astute and show them what they might be missing.

Fascinating read - - thanks so much for sharing it!


message 13: by Karin (last edited May 30, 2017 10:28AM) (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Anita wrote: "Such a negative review, lol.

My sense is that this bricks and mortar store is first and foremost about building Amazon branding and secondarily about continuing to smother the competition. I'm pre..."


Well, you can sell those stocks anytime and have made a profit :). I am greatly reducing my Amazon purchases. I won't quit them completely because my favourite bulk organic grain and flour producer only sells there (much better than anything you can find in the grocery store or Whole foods, even expensive brands, conventionally raised, etc. They do sell smaller bags on Amazon, too).


message 14: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3822 comments Thanks for the clarification, LibraryCin!

Anita wrote: "It's brand reinforcement - - books plus tech plus Prime. And before you know it, you are sucked into their vortex ordering everything from pet food to ziploc bags. ."

I think this is key. Once they can convince people through a brick-and-morter store to take the first leap into amazon- they can hook people.

I'm one of the crazy people that never uses amazon. I don't have a prime account, I only buy occasionally, and I normally end up waiting 3 weeks to get it in the mail. Sounds like it's super beneficial for niche products, like Karin said.


message 15: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Joi wrote: "I'm one of the crazy people that never uses amazon. I don't have a prime account, I only buy occasionally, and I normally end up waiting 3 weeks to get it in the mail. Sounds like it's super beneficial for niche products, like Karin said. .."

You're not any crazier than me--I still use a dumb cell phone and have no intention of getting a smart phone. I have used Amazon quite a bit for a few years due to lack of being able to get certain things and getting sucked in by their rewards (but then they dropped the air miles part), but I am finding other sources now, some I even first found there, where I can get better prices, free shipping. I sometimes use ebates, although it's not as good.

But then Amazon upped our rewards percentage! Still, I'm cutting back because I am opposed to drones being used for shipping things, some of their policies that hurt small merchants and the fact that recently I ordered something that was labelled as prime and it was shipped DIRECTLY from China. I'm not keen on having my and address just go out all over the world without my knowing about it. It used be that Prime shipping was directly from them or it said FULFILLED by them. This was not the case. Plus more issues.

If it weren't for their usually stellar customer service, they'd have lost me before. But I'm also tired of having those jobs outsourced to other countries. Sure, have a German one for German speakers, and Indian one for people in India, but bleah bleah bleah I'm rambling!


message 16: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6012 comments I don't shop amazon - Except for the rare occasion when a F2F book club chooses a book the library doesn't have (and I can't get through I.L.L.) --- then I can buy a used copy for $1.50 from amazon. Actually this has happened only once in the 20 years I've been in book clubs.

Oh, and hubby will sometimes buy something for the house .. I think the last item was an exhaust fan for the bathroom.

My father owned a small business, and I am loyal to brick-and-mortar small businesses ... or even big box stores ... in my community.


message 17: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Book Concierge wrote: "I don't shop amazon - Except for the rare occasion when a F2F book club chooses a book the library doesn't have (and I can't get through I.L.L.) --- then I can buy a used copy for $1.50 from amazon..."

Excellent choice! I just live in an area where shopping can involve a fair bit of travel.


message 18: by Flo (new)

Flo (matthewmurdock) | 147 comments I actually went to this bookstore with my roommate last Friday after seeing this article and it's actually pretty awesome? Like, this article screams "Old Man Yells at Sky" to me, but the store itself is really cool and bright and fun and I really like seeing all the titles displayed with their covers out. It's fun to browse Amazon in real life lol. And they have really cool "If you like this book, check these out" displays and all.

Also I like being able to buy a book at Amazon price (since I have Prime), but get it immediately without having to wait for shipping, because I'm often impatient. XD

Anyway it's awesome and I'm into it.


message 19: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6543 comments Flo wrote: "I actually went to this bookstore with my roommate last Friday after seeing this article and it's actually pretty awesome? Like, this article screams "Old Man Yells at Sky" to me, but the store its..."

Thanks for sharing an "in person" perspective. Honestly, I think there is a viewpoint that Amazon is somehow taking over the world that makes people feel very negatively toward it, even though I think they have served consumers extremely well. Especially those in more rural areas who may not have the kind of access to stores that those of us who live in urban areas do.


message 20: by Karin (new)

Karin | 7202 comments Anita wrote: Thanks for sharing an "in person" perspective. Honestly, I think there is a viewpoint that Amazon is somehow taking over the world that makes people feel very negatively toward it, even though I think they have served consumers extremely well. Especially those in more rural areas who may not have the kind of access to stores that those of us who live in urban areas do. ."

This is one of the reasons I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. As long as it is the only place I can buy my favourite bulk organic oats & flour, some of my favourite domestically made produces (Tough Traveler (sic) now only sells that way; I have bought a few things from them over the years, and they switched sometime in the past few years.)

But I am also actively seeking to spread more of my online purchases out over more than one online store. It is never wise practise to only shop from megalithic companies; too many eggs in too few baskets. And I will continue to use brick and mortar stores, especially for groceries. I do NOT trust store personnel to be as careful about choosing my produce as I am, and also like to check the dates on all perishable items, etc.


message 21: by Barbara M (last edited Jun 24, 2017 04:58PM) (new)

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2275 comments As a librarian in public libraries, many of us adopted the "bookstore" model in late 80s and 90s by putting some books on display and some with covers out at the end of shelf ranges if there was room. It really "sold" the books.

Also as a librarian, I loved reading the reviews and finding new, debut, authors. I wonder how easy that would be at an Amazon bookstore where only those books that rate highly would be displayed.

I remember one time when a book came out by a previously hot author who started a new series that just bombed. The reviews were horrible and I opted not to buy a copy when I usually bought 5 or 6 of that author. Patrons came in asking for the new book, I told them that the book was being panned in the reviews but they insisted. i was forced to purchase a book I had no faith in and every patron returned it unread and also noted that it wasn't worth reading. Maybe only selling those highly rated (though this one made bestseller based on the author's name) might be better??


message 22: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6012 comments Barbara wrote: "Maybe only selling those highly rated (though this one made bestseller based on the author's name) might be better?? ..."

Exactly the problem ... ratings are notoriously unreliable, with many people entering a star rating just based on how much they are looking forward to a book rather than based on their reaction to having read the book.

Seems to me this will be just a venue for the most "popular" books ... most of which I rarely rate higher than 3-stars.


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