Amazon's third bookstore opened briefly on Saturday for what is being called a soft launch. Located outside of Portland, the Washington Square store is Amazon's third bookstore after Seattle and San Diego, and from the sounds of things the new store is operating just like the old one.
Oregon Live visited the store on Saturday. and they described a 7,800 square foot space which sounds like a copy of the store in Seattle. In addition to the space set aside for Amazon hardware, the store stocks around 5,200 titles:
And while Amazon's bookstores might not seem as cozy as others with live-in cats, well-worn armchairs and hand-written staff recommendations, Cast says the stores are driven by data from passionate book-lovers.
Instead of a hand-written card under a few books per shelf, every single book in Amazon's store features a placard with a customer review or a notable award the book received.
It's OK if you're on your phone
The store is meant to be an extension of Amazon's website, so shoppers can jump from the in-store experience to the online experience without missing a beat. Instead of dismissing showrooming – the practice of seeing or trying an item in-store and then buying it online – Amazon is embracing it.
For instance, under each book is a placard with a bar code that a customer can scan using Amazon's app. The app will bring up the book, along with reviews and other recommended titles. If it's the first in a series, and the store didn't stock the second book, a customer could order it on her phone.
In addition, customers who see a book they want can scan it with the Amazon app and add it to their virtual wish list, to be shared with friends and family members ahead of birthdays or holidays.
It's no wonder Amazon embraces showrooming in its stores – it stands to profit either way.
Much to the dismay of Amazon's detractors, there's no torture chamber, no trophy wall displaying the remains of Amazon's defeated foes, and the staff aren't chained to the registers.
It's just a bookstore.
Amazon is also working to open at least two more bookstores, one in Chicago and the other outside of Boston, next year. With luck, those stores will be the dens of iniquity the Amazon haters have been warning us about.
image by SounderBruce