It is ironic that the retailer that decimated traditional book shops with its technology driven online model has recently opened its first bricks-n-mortar store in New York.
Amazons new store looks like a book store with rows of book filled shelves although there are not as many books as you might have found in the previous generation of book sellers. “You can’t tell a book by its cover” is a famous saying but Amazon begs to differ and rather than just seeing rows of narrow spines, each book also shows its full cover to the shopper which takes up space. And there is an emphasis on “most read” books rather than trying to display every example of every book genre.
Amazon have given over a significant amount of space to accessories like electronic readers, smart speakers and smart watches. There are books categorised as quick reads, and scanning stations where you can scan book barcodes to see what your members discount might be. Which brings us to membership and a clear link in this book store to the Amazon Prime membership system that is at the core of Amazon’s retail play.
This does look like a bookstore, with a few Amazon tweaks, and one can’t help but feel that the real winner is books themselves. After yet another significant technological shift in centuries of book publishing the humble book survives and sensations like "the feel of a good book" are still relevant.