‘Bookstore killer’ Amazon opening its first brick-and-mortar location

Prices at Amazon Books are the same as on Amazon.com. The available titles are based largely on online sales numbers and customer reviews.

Amazon is solidifying its brand—literally.

It’s been asserted for years that Amazon is killing bookstores. Today, Amazon opens a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle’s University Village.

It features 5,000 titles—most of which have received at least four-star ratings on the Amazon website—in a building with 5,500 square feet of floor space.

In addition to customer ratings, the books offered in the store are based on pre-orders, sales, popularity on reader recommendation site Goodreads and its curators’ assessments, according to The Bookseller.

The way books are displayed differs from that of other bookstores. Here, most books are shown face-out, and a review card containing its Amazon.com customer rating and a review is attached below it.

In a note to customers, Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books, stated:

Amazon Books is a physical extension of Amazon.com. We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping.

Prices at Amazon Books are the same as prices offered by Amazon.com, so you’ll never need to compare our online and in-store prices. Nevertheless, our mobile app is a great way to read additional customer reviews, get more detailed information about a product, or even to buy products online.

Similar to the Apple Store experience, Amazon Books customers can try Amazon devices including Kindle, Echo, Fire TV and Fire Tablet, and experts are there to show how the products work and answer questions.

The irony in Amazon’s taking its online bookselling prowess into the brick-and-mortar market didn’t go unnoticed on social media.

New perks for Amazon workers

A storefront location isn’t the only big announcement from Amazon this week.

The online retailer’s 222,000 employees learned Monday that birth mothers will get 20 weeks’ leave and fathers will get up to six weeks, according to the The New York Times.

It also announced a new “leave share” program that “allows employees to effectively pass along their paid leave benefits to their spouses, including same-sex couples,” according to GeekWire.

Some might say this move is in response to the unflattering New York Times article that taught us Amazon employees cry at their desks and new moms with a cancer diagnosis get forced from their jobs. However, the Amazon announcement stated: “We review our benefit programs annually and began considering our leave policies in early 2015.”

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