Amazon to Launch Hundreds of Physical Bookstores

Posted on February 2, 2016

Interior of Amazon Books in Seattle

Amazon is reportedly planning to launch hundreds of bricks-and-mortar bookstores. The new plans are described in a Wall Street Journal story.

The source of a story is a mall CEO. This could indicate Amazon is planning to open some of the new stores inside shopping malls. The WSJ interviewed Sandeep Mathrani who is the CEO of General Growth Partners, which operates numerous malls. Mathrani revealed that Amazon is planning on launching the physical stores.

Amazon opened its very first real bricks-and-mortar location in Seattle last year. The store, called Amazon Books, sells paperback and hardcover books. The prices are the same as they are on Amazon.com. The store even features "highly rated" book sections based on the ratings the books receive on Amazon.com. There are also print customer reviews on display.

Amazon could replicate this format with mall stores and/or standalone locations across the nation. The storefronts could also be a way for Amazon to compete with Apple and Microsoft. An obvious use of the stores for Amazon would be to showcase its many gadgets, such as the Kindle ebook readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV and Amazon Echo.

Amazon.com is already feared by many of its bricks-and-mortar bookselling rivals. Having Amazon join them in their own domain could be even more disturbing.

Dow Jones reports that Amazon decline to comment on the story. Barnes & Noble has 640 stores and Books-A-Million has around 250 so Amazon will catch up to them if it opens 400 stores. However, the Dow Jones story notes it could take years before Amazon is able to open all these stores due to the need to find locations and negotiate deals on leases. Amazon should not have trouble finding retail space in this environment.

Photo: Amazon