Whether you think it’s perfectly pointless, or the shape of things to come, Amazon’s first New York brick-n-mortar store has been unveiled in Columbus Circle, and boy has it generated a lot of talk.
Widely blamed for killing off rival high-street bookstores, book giant Amazon.com is now getting in on the action, launching eight physical branches around the US, with five more in the pipeline including a second Manhattan outlet.
Based in the Time Warner Center, the NY shop stocks around 3,000 books, but describes itself as “a store without walls”, with millions more titles available online. Sections include great gifts, holiday reads, a kids’ zone with chairs, and “page turners: books Kindle readers finish in 3 days or less.”
Blending the benefits of trad shopping with tech, Amazon Books selects titles based on online data (including Amazon.com customer ratings, top pre-orders, weekly new releases, sales, and popularity on Goodreads) plus curator picks. Books are placed face out on shelves, with Amazon review cards and online-style recommendations, although interior design is conventional.
You can also test-drive or buy Amazon-tech devices, including Echo, Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and Fire TV. The store accepts only credit card or app payments, with prices for Amazon Prime members matching those on Amazon.com (non-subscribers shell out the full retail price for books). Decide for yourself, as this old school-meets-new school hybrid is the year’s most talked-about retail opening.
Amazon Books / 3/F / The Shops at Columbus Circle / 10 Columbus Circle / Upper West Side / +1 212 757 3892 / 10am-9pm Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm Sun / amazon.com