Amazon Set to Open how Many Bookstores?

Y’all should know by now that Amazon opened its first brick and mortar bookstore just recently in Seattle. They claimed to use their years of online book selling to create the best of both online and in-store shopping.

Now we’re hearing about more stores on the way. This isn’t surprising in itself until you hear the number of stores they’re preparing to open. I’ll give you a minute to guess because I imagine you’re original guess will be just as good as mine.

Ready?

Reports have surfaced claiming Amazon is preparing to open 300-400 bookstores. Am I surprised they’re looking to expand their bookstore presence into other cities? No. Am I surprised by the number of stores they’re looking to open? Yes. Very much so.

A little perspective on that number. Barnes and Noble is easily the big man on campus when it comes to bookstores in the United States. They operate more than 600 stores. Then we have Books-A-Million at more than 200 stores. And I believe Half Price Books comes in third at over 100 stores. Amazon would jump right to the second spot. And I think they’d mostly damage Books-A-Million. Why? Well Half Price Books is a completely different kind of bookstore. They’ve weathered the move to digital and back to print very well. Barnes and Noble has huge stores with Starbucks coffee and tens of thousands of books, and their print business has remained profitable for some time even while the Nook threatened the existence of the entire company. Yes, it was that bad. And Books-A-Million is REALLY struggling. There have been rumors for some time that the company may go private. They’ve also started directly competing with Half Price Books with their 2nd and Charles store.

Amazon looking to open more of its bookstores isn’t all that surprising to me. It gives more people the opportunity to try out their devices before buying AND it gives them a chance to increase their market share. I think the move will be successful, but I think both Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books will be just fine. Books-A-Million cannot like this news one bit.

What do you think of Amazon potentially opening 300-400 more bookstores? My main thought is for them to put one near me! Hehe.

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15 thoughts on “Amazon Set to Open how Many Bookstores?

  1. I’m not surprised they are opening more stores, nor about the number (since I was almost bang on.)
    When Amazon does something they don’t do it in a small way. What bothers me is that it sounds like they’re doing it too fast.
    Take Target here in Canada. They bankrupted after only a couple of years because they didn’t take the time to do the research into what Canadians will buy, do buy and what was a bust with other similar retailers. I fear Amazon may do the same thing. At least online they don’t have to worry about Dallas not ordering the fleece sweaters because someone in New York will order them. That’s not an easy option with physical stores.
    I do like the fact you can try out a product before you buy it, though, which is one of the reasons I shop at the physical Chapters or Apple stores rather than order online. It saves me a load of hassle if it doesn’t work (like my last ereader. I had to return it because it wasn’t allowing me to set it up: something the clerk said he’d never seen before). If I’d had to do that with online ordering it would have taken much longer the day I purchased and got frustrated and the next day when I returned it for another, same model ereader.

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    • I disagree. The stores are aimed at local populations. I think the Seattle store has a section for northwest authors. They aren’t just buying up commercial space and throwing books at people. This is a very calculated move.

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  2. Fascinating. After being the primary force behind the dismantling of so many bookstores, they’ve decided to step in to the brick and mortar segment. One could say that perhaps they engineered this, in a sneering Disney villain kind of way. “First I’ll crush all the brick stores, then when there’s nothing left for anyone, I’ll open all my own. Muahahahaha. Crown books: You’re first.”

    All this success might lead to anti-trust allegations.

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    • Hmm. Antitrust issues? They’re print market share is relatively in line with other retailers. I’m not seeing any antitrust issues here. And Amazon is definitely not the only factor in independent bookstores closing. I think they get a lot of blame for something changing an industry that hadn’t changed at all in the last what, century? With that logic every successful startup should anger people the way Amazon does. Like Uber. Or Netflix.

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  3. I have mixed feelings about this. Amazon along with B&N basically sank all the small bookstores that used to be so fun to go in. So I find it ironic that Amazon is now opening physical bookstores. If one opens near me will I visit? Hell Yeah! What can I say. I’m weak!

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  4. I am somewhat intrigued by this. What books will they be selling? Will this be a platform for the numerous independent authors, such as myself, to get some exposure? Will they be using CreateSpace to print indie books for their shelves? I hope so, but I haven’t heard specifics.

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    • No. I can’t imagine the Seattle store (which I imagine all the new stores being modeled after) carrying self published authors. Wouldn’t make sense. They carry far fewer titles than the typical Barnes and Noble store, and they have Amazon Publishing titles being released every month. Those will most likely be carried. Along with other books they know will sell. Not self published books only 50 people in the whole world know about.

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  5. I’m kind of excited because amazon does have cheaper prices than barnes and nobles and it would be great to go into a bookstore like that and be able to buy a couple of book without dying a little on the inside. On the other hand amazon literally tries to compete with everyone, such as netflix with their amazon instant video and scribd with their so called unlimited reading and those has been flops, as in they don’t compare to netflix and scribd. So I hope that the bookstore turns out well but i’m not going to get my hopes up.

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    • Well Kindle Unlimited has done okay, but Amazon Prime Instant Video is definitely not a flop. You must not have a Prime account saying that. It’s very similar to Netflix and their original series are some of the most critically acclaimed series on TV right now. They win Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. As for the new store, I’d definitely give it a try.

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  6. I’m shocked that Books a Million only has 100 stores nationwide. I feel like there’s one in every mall! Maybe it’s more popular down here in the SouthEast? That number just seems really tiny…

    I look forward to the Amazon bookstores. I wonder what neat stuff they will offer to differentiate their brand, as Barnes and Noble is more of the quaint/everyman bookstore and Books A Million has claimed the geek/alt life niche.

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    • Well they have over 200 stores, but they’re just not in many states. Good example: There are at least 11 Barnes and Noble stores in the Houston area. There are at least 9 Half Price stores in the area. And a whopping one Books-A-Million store. And it’s not even really in Houston. They used to have a big two-story store in downtown Houston, but it closed. But of course they can’t expand when they’re already struggling mightily. I think the Amazon stores will have a completely different feel than other stores I’ve been in. I think.

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  7. I think it’s a bad business plan to open so many in a short period of time. I know the Seattle store went over well–one of my friends from there went and said she liked it–but this could be asking for trouble. Foreclosures often follow big decisions like that, even with companies like Amazon. I’d think they’d be more selective than that and start small. I know they have buckets of money, but still. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads.

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    • Hmmm. Remember that their stores are smaller than most major bookstores. I think 5000 square feet. Which is nothing. Half Price averages more than that. So obviously it’ll cost a ton of money, but I’m sure the terms of their leases (or if they just outright buy space) will be under very favorable terms. Random question: have you heard that Circuit City is also looking to open a few hundred stores soon? But nothing like they used to have. Much smaller space and geared toward younger customers.

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