When traveling I love to visit the hot new thing, whether it’s a new attraction, store, or restaurant. In this case it happened to be Amazon’s first bookstore in New York City. The Amazon store opened on May 25th and I visited on May 26th. I was curious to learn why Amazon would open a bookstore, especially since they are the reason for the demise of most bookstores in America. Because Amazon has a reputation for being very innovative, I had very high expectations. Read on for a summary of what makes the Amazon store different than a normal bookstore.
The books are front facing just like the Amazon app. Because of this, the store has far less books than a normal bookstore, but I found it much easier to search through the books they did stock.
Under each book an Amazon customer review is displayed, which includes the total number reviews and the average star rating. This is an excellent tool in determining if a book is good or not because nobody has as many book reviews as Amazon.
The books are listed at retail price, but you can get a significant discount if you have Amazon Prime. Just use the Amazon app to scan the book and see the Prime price. When the app gives you the Prime price, you have the option to buy the book through your phone and pick it up immediately or have it shipped to you in two days using your Prime account. (I was blown away by this feature!)
The Amazon bookstore offered very unique categories. For example: Page Turners You Can Read in 3 Days or Less, 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime, or Most Wish Listed Books. I felt these were more useful categories than what the traditional bookstore offers.
You can test all of the cool Amazon products before buying them. One of the frustrating things with buying online is not having the opportunity to test the product before buying it. This is one of the best features of having a brick and mortar store, and Amazon is taking full advantage of this opportunity. At least 25% of the space in the store I visited featured Amazon branded products like the Echo, Alexa and FireTV. These are all products that would be nice to test out before making the purchase. Plus, it’s also nice to speak with an expert and get an in-person tutorial of how to use them.
The final unique feature of the store happens during the check out process. Amazon prefers purchases made with Amazon Pay instead of cash or credit card. Amazon Pay allows you to pay for your books using the same payment method you’ve previously used on Amazon.com.
I’m glad I visited the Amazon bookstore in New York City because it gave me the chance to see how truly ingenious Amazon is. Through the years they’ve created a plethora of products such as the Kindle, Amazon Prime, and most recently Alexa, which made me wonder how they were going to try to reinvent the bookstore. The bookstore they created is a simplified version of the massive bookstores we used to know. They sell popular items in a fresh style, and it’s a pleasant place to shop for gifts or browse for yourself.
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