Amazon has always been synonymous with online retail. The company started off with selling books before eventually growing to be the jack of all trades retail and consumer services company that it is today. For all Amazon has accomplished, the closest the company has ever come to being a part of the physical world has been a shipping box with some neat Amazon-labeled tape, until this morning.
Nestled within University Village, a trendy shopping center in Seattle and a short walk from both the University of Washington and the gorgeous Lake Washington, Amazon has opened the doors to its brand new retail store: Amazon Books. The primary purpose of Amazon Books is to offer quality literature from its online store in a physical space without the need to shop around or hunt for reviews.
Amazon Books accomplishes this by displaying dated online reader reviews. For instance, "The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard III" (pictured below) holds a 4.8/5 rating via 396 reviews as of 10/11/2015 on Amazon.com, so a plaque sits below the book with relevant ratings information as well as a detailed customer review. The store acts as a hall of fame for books available on Amazon.com, both new and old, and enables customers to make confident purchases at competitive prices since the store will also match online pricing.
In addition to an expansive collection of books, visitors to the Amazon Books store will also find select first-party Amazon products like the new $50 Fire Tablet, Amazon's Fire TV and Echo speaker/personal assistant. These products will be on display to try out and purchase in-store, giving users perhaps the best place to demo Amazon's products since the employees are more familiar with the products.
Will this be the first of many Amazon Books retail stores? Will this just be a one-and-done concept on Amazon's home turf in Seattle? It's hard to say, but Amazon's press release calls this "Day One" of Amazon Books. It wouldn't be a shocker if Amazon decided to open up more of these across the U.S., especially near universities where books are still commonplace. Perhaps that all depends on how well this first Amazon Books store is received.