Amazon has opened its first physical bookshop, 20 years after turning the world of publishing upside down. The Seattle shop will stock around 5,000 titles, all priced the same as they are on the Amazon website. The Company has cherry-picked the Amazon catalogue, an obvious move when you consider they sell over a million titles on their website, and even have a section of books which have scored an average of 4.8 (phew) in customer reviews. Shops have been a fantastic success for Apple, and recently Google partnered up with Curry’s in their Tottenham Court Road shop to sell Android phones, tablets and Chromebook laptops. Perhaps Amazon feel they are missing out.
To me it seems a strange move given that independent bookshops are having such a bad time of it, and also if they do see growth, it will be minuscule in relation to the growth they have experienced with their website. The MD of Waterstones, James Daunt was quick to criticise their decision to display books face-out, ‘we could stock over ten times that amount,’ he said.
I personally don’t see the point, even if the shop is in a relatively ‘safe’ environment, as their headquarters are in the city and many of the bookshop’s customers will come from there. They will soon run into issues of staff sickness, thieving, out of stock, limited opening hours, restricted range, a whole host of issues most independent retailers are very familiar with. What do you think?