Why Did Amazon Open A Brick-And-Mortar Store To Sell Books?
On November 3rd, Amazon did something very strange. They opened up their first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle’s University Village Mall. This news comes as a shock after Barnes & Noble recently closed their location in the very same mall in 2011! So what is Amazon offering to customers that will save them from the same fate as Borders, Walden Books, and Barnes & Noble?
For starters, Amazon is not reliant on book sales to stay afloat. The huge company offers everything that other booksellers do, plus a whole arsenal of other items that customers want. Amazon sells everything from pet supplies to clothing and jewelry. And those items are overshadowed by the successful tech gadgets they’ve launched over the past several years e.g. the Kindle and its self-publishing services, the Echo, and the Fire TV Stick. Other books stores just have not been able to compete with Amazon over the years.
Amazon has carved themselves a place in the book-selling marketplace by selling things other than books! But why would they open a physical store when their website is thriving?
The Atlantic theorizes that it is to emulate the success of Apple’s stores. Apple has created stores that function as more than just stores. Megan Garber calls them, “secular cathedrals.” They are places were you can shop, lounge, and get your technology fixed. They are a physical manifestation of a tech-based corporation. The Apple Store is a place where the intangible world of Apple becomes real.
Amazon opening a store accomplishes this same thing. It creates a space where you can ask questions about Amazon products, test them out, and flip through actual books before you buy them —although we all love the “look inside” feature of the website, it’s just not the same.