Home » Amazon, Bookstores » At Amazon’s bookstores, books are just window dressing

At Amazon’s bookstores, books are just window dressing

10 March 2016

From USA Today:

Since Amazon opened its first brick and mortar bookstore in November, rumors have swirled about the Seattle online retailer’s plans for more bookstores across the nation, with numbers between 10 and 400 outlets bandied about.

. . . .

But is Amazon actually building bookstores?

“No,” says Rob Enderle, a tech industry analyst with the Enderle Group in Bend, Ore.

“The books are just window dressing,” he said.

Amazon’s using them to create a comfortable space for people to come in and get acquainted with its electronics offerings, he said.

At this point that includes the Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Echo, its popular voice-activated personal digital assistant, music player and all-around shopping aide, which now also comes in two smaller sizes, the Tap and the Dot.

. . . .

“A lot of people are intimidated by electronics, but they feel comfortable hanging out in a bookstore,” Enderle said. If they go into a Best Buy they worry they’ll be set upon by salespeople, but in a bookstore they feel safe.

. . . .

Instead, Amazon is announcing it will open a second store, although it’s been mum on the proposition otherwise except to say, “stay tuned for additional details down the road.”

Mutter says “good sources” in the book world put the number of projected Amazon brick and mortar stores at between 12 and 18.

. . . .

What the stores offer Amazon is much more valuable than sales from a few thousand books — a way to build its brand directly with customers in face-to-face circumstances, said Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, a tech analysis firm based in Hayward, Calif.

In that, Amazon is following a template that’s been extraordinarily successful for Apple despite early predictions of failure.

“With its targeted mostly urban outlets, Apple is able to showcase not only its devices but its brand to people who are its biggest fans. That’s built a level of customer loyalty that’s pretty hard to surpass,” he said.

Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Amazon, Bookstores

13 Comments to “At Amazon’s bookstores, books are just window dressing”

  1. They’re ‘tests’ for gathering data, you know, that thing Amazon runs on … 😉

  2. Al the Great and Powerful

    Sure, whatever. Of course I believe some self-employed ‘tech industry analyst’ rather than the ‘Zon itself…

  3. This is tangential to the OP, but I’m fascinated with the concept of using ‘big data’ from one’s website to select inventory for one’s brisk-and-mortar store. I’m eager to see where Amazon goes with it.

    • The go where you put it: *brisk* and mortar. 😉
      Fast sales of good books.

      That leads to a reputation as a reliable source of good reads at reasonable prices which will lead to more revenue for Amazon and the publishers and to Kingmaker power for Amazon. In a few years instead of authors bragging about being NYT bestsellers they might brag of being stocked/featured at Amazon Books.

      Stranger things have happened.

      (And this scares the beejezus out of the establishment.)

      • being stocked at Amazon Books will probably mean more.

      • And thanks to the boycotts of Amazon imprints and indies by other bookstores, visitors will be able to find unique, bestselling books no one else has.

  4. Actually, the same could be said for B&N these days. The books are just window dressing for toys, knick knacks, and coffee. 😉

  5. So basically an Apple or Microsoft store.

    Makes a lot more sense than simply selling hardcover books, at least.

    • Leave it to Amazon to figure out how to make “window dressing” pay for itself. 😉

      I see a lot of people going through all sorts of contortions in order to avoid accepting the obvious: in any given bookstore ten percent of the books generate 90% of the revenue. Their problem is they don’t know beforehand which 10%. Hence the importance of pre-orders and returns. Amazon, however, does.

      Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and the odds are that Amazon books is just what the name says: Amazon selling books.

      No need to invoke exotic hidden agendas.

      • @ Felix

        “No need to invoke exotic hidden agendas.”

        LOL. Yeah, tell that to the ADSers! Paranoid conspiracy memes are always central to such mindsets.

        The truth? Not so much. In fact, not at all! 🙂

  6. Sounds pretty dang smart to me.

  7. I found it interesting that this one guy didn’t “see anyone buying anything”.

    Maybe he couldn’t. Maybe people were checking the QR codes with their phones and buying ebooks online after checking out the print version on the shelf. Because Amazon lets them.

    And being an old-fashioned bookseller himself he wouldn’t know what he was seeing.

    I’d love to visit an Amazon store.

    • …or maybe he didn’t visit at the right times.
      Many profitable stores can look like ghost towns at certain days and times and be unholy madhouses at others.

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