It's going to open some time this summer:
Located at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, Westfield UTC is an upscale, outdoor shopping mall that matches the style and retailers of University Village, the Seattle-area mall where Amazon opened its first bookstore. That location, which opened its doors in November, spans 7,500 square feet, with approximately 5,500 square feet of retail space.
Like Amazon's Seattle bookstore, the new store is less than a fifth the size of one of B&N's stores. We don't know how many titles it will carry, but judging by the space and the location it would be safe to assume that the new Amazon Books will operate the same as the Seattle store.
According to first-hand reports, that store was less about selling books than about collecting data on browsing behavior. The Seattle store carries Amazon gadgetry as well as around 5,000 titles, all facing out on the shelf. There are no prices marked, forcing customers to check a price on their smartphone using the Amazon shopping app.
Then again, Amazon is not above running A/B tests, so for all we know the San Diego store could be built to test different ideas. There are any number of ways Amazon might use the space, including:
- Maybe have a print-on-demand machine, to do print books;
- Offer a larger gadget section, kinda like a “home of tomorrow”which features Alexa and smart home integration;
- Author talks by Kindle Direct Publishing/Amazon imprint/Amazon independent paperbook authors.
At this point Amazon isn't saying how they'll use the space. “We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to the University Towne Center Mall in San Diego and we are currently hiring store managers and associates,” Amazon spokesperson Sarah Gelman told San Diego U-T. “Stay tuned for additional details down the road.”
image by Gary Robbins