Amazon Books: The Online Retailer is Getting Physical

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In an effort to sell more books, Amazon, the king of online retail, has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in its hometown of Seattle. Located in a mall near the University of Washington, the outlet has been dubbed Amazon Books. Amazon getting physical is a curious move, will it pay off or will it be a bust?

According to The Wall Street Journal, this attempt “is a reversal from Amazon’s roots as a pure online retailer” and contradicts one of their core strategies: “to challenge the limited inventory of physical stores, which typically don’t stock rare, older or less fashionable books”. Books sold at the store will be set at the same price as online, and inventory will be decided based on sales on its website, as well as customer ratings. The store will also carry e-book readers including its very own Kindle and several other Amazon media devices.

As shocking as it may sound that Amazon has gone offline with Amazon Books, it shouldn’t be considered too surprising, as 90% of retail commerce is still represented by brick-and-mortar stores. As an example, rivals Wal-Mart and Costco sell millions of books annually, and Amazon may be looking to take some of sales for themselves. In addition, sales of e-books, which Amazon holds power over, have fallen 10.4% or $583 million in the first half of 2015, compared with the same time period in 2014. For now, the store seems to be an experiment, so it will interesting to see if Amazon expands its physical presence, not only for books, but for other merchandise as well.