Amazon opened its first retail bookstore at University Village on Tuesday, which is named Amazon Books (see pictures of the store below). The store opening brings the largest online seller of books to the retail world. The store is first and foremost a bookstore, but is also a showcase for Amazon’s digital products, such as the Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Fire TV streaming-media devices.
Downtown Bellevue has seen Borders and B.Dalton close in the Bellevue Collection within the past decade. Borders, which occupied 28,000 sq. ft. closed their Bellevue store in 2005. Barnes & Noble and The University Book Store are the last remaining bookstores in downtown Bellevue. Barnes & Noble from a corporate perspective has struggled in recent years and appears to be hanging on by a thread as they compete with online retailers that have low margins.
The heavily trafficked shopping areas in Bellevue, specifically Bellevue Square are lacking a bookstore. If Amazon continues to add retail stores Bellevue Square would present itself as a prime candidate for an Amazon Books store, as it currently lacks the category.
Amazon’s bookstore strategy is unique in many ways. First, the stores are much smaller than past competitors typically have built – the University Village store is 7,500 sq. ft. compared to the 28,000 sq. ft. that Borders used to occupy. Second, the company has an incredible amount of data to pull from such as best sellers in specific categories, as well as highest ratings to choose the books to feature within the store. And third, the pricing for the books are same as the Amazon website. This allows customers the peace of mind that they are getting a fair deal.