The local news site Popville reported yesterday that one of my two nearby Amazon Books locations is closed for renovations. What’s interesting is that they didn’t quite get the whole story; according to Amazon’s website, there are actually five locations closed for renovations right now, including both the DC and Maryland stores.
Amazon’s bookstore chain is undergoing a transformation, but into what, exactly?
I queried Amazon for more info, but I have not heard back. What I can tell you is that the shuttered stores are located in Bethesda (MD), DC, Walnut Creek (CA), Dedham (MA), and New York City (the Columbus Circle location). Those five stores represent a quarter of Amazon’s 20 Amazon Books stores (the 20th was announced for Nashville, TN, but is still under construction).
Amazon opened its first bookstore in Seattle in 2015, and opened another 17 stores over the next three years before pausing their expansion. The retailer canceled stores in Atlanta and Idaho in late 2018, and repurposed one of its planned Denver bookstores as a Four-Star location (the Cherry Creek store initially had job ads for Amazon Books, but its role shifted by the time it opened).
With 3 stores canceled and five stores under renovation, Amazon has clearly changed their mind about bookstores. Alas, they are not saying what their new plan is.
The DC store is expected to reopen next Tuesday, so I guess this means I will be driving up to DC in the middle of the day next week.
I will let you know what I find.