Rumors in the business world are claiming that soon Amazon will open its own bookstore in Seattle, Washington. According to Forbes, this would be the first retail store for the electronic commerce giant since it was founded in 1994. Amazon’s bookstore would presumably feature its own products, the Kindle e-book reader and e-books among them. This company is already the largest online retailer in the world, so it will be interesting to see how an Amazon store will affect its sales. The combination of Amazon’s brand recognition and exclusive titles may change the way other bookstores operate.
Brick and mortar retailers often feel threatened by Amazon, says the New York Times. Robin Lewis of the Robin Report explains that, “A lot of people think this is a category — electronics — that Amazon will crush just as they did bookstores.” Kindle products are especially popular and some retailers have even refused to carry them for fear they will reduce sales of their own books. Many are of the opinion that an Amazon store can only benefit the consumer in the end, though.
Market opportunity is the primary reason for Amazon to open a retail store. It would allow Amazon to overcome the problem of similarity between products that affects sales for other retailers. Amazon has a unique collection of e-books, which it can combine with Kindle readers. This will provide Amazon with an exclusive combination of products, rarity in modern retailing.
This marketing strategy will make the store a cross between a bookstore and a computer store. A major advantage of this strategy is that it will attract readers at an early age. Young readers will initially learn to read from a Kindle, and then buy multiple e-books. Amazon has an extensive list of books available for the Kindle. This includes traditional titles available at other retailers in addition to exclusive titles sold only by Amazon. This approach will represent an alternative to existing retail bookstores instead of a direct competitor.
The ultimate number of stores is the primary issue predicting the impact that Amazon will have in the retail world. The first Amazon store could be merely a flagship store intended to attract media attention. It’s also possible that it will be a seasonal store that is gone after the Christmas holidays. It is more likely, however, that the first retail store from Amazon will represent the first unit in a major chain of bookstores. If this is the case, Amazon will likely use this store to tweak the format of the chain before opening additional stores.
The expected format for the Amazon stores is a boutique rather than a superstore, according to Mashable. This format will allow Amazon to avoid the high rent of the big box stores, which has resulted in the demise of many retail bookstores. Amazon’s strategy has the potential for improving book sales throughout the industry, especially independent stores. It may also increase the number of regular readers. If successful, Amazon’s model may cause other bookstores to follow suit and begin publishing their own books. This trend could mark the end of traditional book selling.
Amazon is currently in the position to lead the transition away from traditional publishing where all bookstores sell the same books. The new model will also allow book sellers to join the ranks of other major publishers so that they may sell books that will not be available at other stores.