It looks like Amazon is losing interest in opening new bookstores. It has recently either abandoned or adapted three Amazon Books locations, raising questions whether Amazon is going to continue opening new bookstores.
This story came to my attention this morning when I read in the Idaho Statesman that Amazon had let its plans for a bookstore outside of Boise, Idaho, fall through. The store had been announced in March when Amazon filed the initial permits, but Amazon never followed through on completing the paperwork, and according to the landlord is no longer interested in the location.
This reminded me that about a month ago Amazon opened an “Amazon 4-star” store outside of Denver. According to what I found back in March, the location was going to be an Amazon Books location (and I reported it as such) but apparently Amazon changed its mind.
And then there’s Atlanta.
Last November I reported that Amazon was opening a bookstore at the Lenox Square Mall. Amazon had filed construction permits for that location for an Amazon Books store, but I confirmed this morning that public records show Amazon never followed through on completing the permits, nor have they opened the store.
Once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, but three times – well, that is a trend.
Amazon opened its first bookstore in Seattle in 2015. It currently lists 18
16 open and 2 planned Amazon Books locations on its website. The newest store opened in Bethesda, MD, in June, and the two stores under development could very well be Amazon’s last two bookstores.
Update: Amazon has updated their site since I published this post. They changed the list of Amazon Books locations, which is why I crossed out the sentences above. Also, the Cherry Creek Amazon Books location in Denver is not yet listed. Amazon won’t discuss it, so this might be the 4th bookstore Amazon cancels.
Bookstores are no longer the apple in Amazon’s eye; instead, the retailer is focused on opening cashier-less Amazon Go stores. There are reports that Amazon is meeting with multiple airport authorities to discuss putting Amazon Go stores in airports (FOIA requests are wonderful).
These stores would almost be upsized versions of the vending machines Amazon first started installing in airports and malls four or five years ago, and they might even carry a few books. But they won’t be bookstores.
Amazon was queried before this post was written, and I will update this post if they say anything interesting.