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Five Amazon Books Locations Are Closed for Renovations (At Least)

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.

image by shinya via Flickr

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Steve H. October 29, 2019 um 8:31 pm

I was about to email you about this….I decided to go to the Bethesda store last Friday. Sign in window said "Closed For Upgrades"..Windows papered over to block view. I have been in the D.C. and Bethesda stores once each and struggle to picture the ways Amazon can "Upgrade".

Nate Hoffelder October 29, 2019 um 11:04 pm

Don’t tell anyone, but the Bethesda store is going to reopen tomorrow.

Steve H. October 30, 2019 um 10:56 pm

Looks like Saturday….I called Bethesda today-was in area- employee said total interior redo.

Nate Hoffelder October 31, 2019 um 9:04 am

that’s good for me – I wanted to go see the store, but I haven’t had a chance

Janet November 3, 2019 um 10:37 am

I drove by the Bethesday store Saturday afternoon (Nov. 2) and it was still papered over. We actually use it for returning Amazon items. I promised myself I would not buy any more books until I read what I had!

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2019 um 10:41 am


I was told it was supposed to be open already, but I guess they’re not done.

Edward J Cunningham November 3, 2019 um 6:00 pm

I went into the Bethesda store today, which has reopened. Technically, it’s still an "Amazon Books" store, but there are noticeably fewer bookshelves and fewer books. There used to be an entire bay devoted to magazines, but now there are just a handful underneath the counter. The Amazon associate at the desk insisted that they still have as many books—if not more—but that they’ve just been moved around. However, another associate who scanned a book for me because the scanner (there was only one that I saw in the store) wasn’t working agreed with me that there are fewer books and the store is probably transitioning into a "Four-Star" store.

One more thing. I asked the guy at the counter where "Guts" was, and told me to go to the children’s section, turn left and I would see it at the bottom (??) of a shelf. Fortunately, it turned out to be on the top shelf, but…this is the number one selling BOOK in the country. Why the hell isn’t it on an endcap? Shouldn’t it be displayed towards the front of the store? Looks like Amazon doesn’t want to sell books as much as the electronic devices—Fire, Echo, etc.—-which were all on big tables in the center of the store where bookshelves used to be. There were also toys available for Christmas.

If the Georgetown store—which was much bigger than Bethesda—has similar changes and a lot fewer books, I may have to visit Barnes and Noble more instead.

Nate Hoffelder November 3, 2019 um 6:23 pm


Edward J Cunningham November 4, 2019 um 1:20 pm

Another thing—- know how Amazon Books insisted on displaying the books face front? Now on many of their shelves you will see them spine out.

Nate Hoffelder November 4, 2019 um 2:45 pm


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