Last week I attended a networking event at University Village. I got there a little early so I decided to roam around the shopping center for a while and, lo and behold, I found myself in front of the Amazon bookstore. I had been wanting to visit since it opened, so I popped in for a few minutes to check it out.
It’s a good sized bookstore. It seemed to have all the regular book categories that you would see in a regular bookstore. There is a magazine section and an area to sit down and browse the magazines. And there are Kindles and tablets all around, in case you want to look up something on the Amazon website.
There’s also an area where the Amazon gadgets and technology and Kindles are for sale. I was happy to see this section mainly because it’s difficult to find Kindles in person to look at. I know that, before I got my Kindle, I went around to many other electronic stores looking for Kindles so I could see how they worked in real life. Needless to say, I did not find many.
On the shelves, the books face outwards. This was definitely different than what I was used to. On the one hand, it was easy to see all the books and read their titles. I find it annoying at the bookstore to have to twist your head horizontal to read the titles of the books. It makes me feel like a contortionist. But here, you know right away the title and author of a book. Plus, there was no need to bend down to figure out the books on the bottom shelf. The outward facing books made it easy to see each book on the shelf.
On the other hand, because outward facing books take up so much space on the shelves, it looked like the inventory was smaller than a regular bookstore. The shelves seemed to hold fewer books. Even on my own bookshelves, I know that 1 outward facing book is the same width as 3 or 4 books shelved spine out. Additionally, there were many copies of each book, considering the front books were all flush with the edge of the shelf. It definitely contrasted with regular bookstores where there is usually only 1 or 2 copies of each book on the bookshelf.
Beneath each book is a tag hanging off the shelf. On each tag is an excerpt from an Amazon review. It also includes such information such as the number of people who found the review helpful, the average star rating of the book, and how many people have reviewed it. It makes me wonder if the people who wrote the reviews would know that one day in the future, their review would be highlighted for all to see in the Amazon bookstore.
There is also a barcode on the tag. This is because there are no prices on any books in the store. Rather, signs in the bookstore state that all prices are the same as the prices on Amazon.com. You can also scan the barcode to find out the price, if you have the Amazon app.
Additionally, the book tables in the store have categories such as picks from Amazon.com’s best of the year 2015, books placed on customer’s wishlists, and books rated 4.8 stars and above. It’s clear that Amazon has culled their statistics and are offering customers the most wanted books.
I shop a lot on Amazon, mainly because of the convenience. I have Amazon Prime so I get free 2-day shipping. Plus, since I live in Seattle, many items are available for 1-day or same day shipping. There’s just something satisfying about shopping online, clicking the buy button, and knowing that the item you bought will be at your home the day after tomorrow.
Would I actually buy something from the Amazon bookstore? Probably not. Like I said, the main reason I shop on Amazon is because of the convenience of shopping from home and having your item delivered to your home. If I want to go to a bookstore, I’ll probably go to the Barnes and Noble because it is closer to me than the Amazon bookstore.