This past weekend I was in New York for our 2nd 48in48 event there (here’s what that looked like), and while Adam and I were taking our kids to the Empire State Building, we had our first Amazon Book Store sighting. Its nuts that Amazon basically destroyed the brick-and-mortar book stores, and now is opening them almost like a slap in the face to the entire industry.
We HAD to go in. And, I hate to admit this, I kind of loved it. Full disclosure, I’ve recently started reading physical books again, and this was the first book store I’ve been to since that change. So I probably would have been excited regardless. But, to see an Amazon Book Store in the wild, I had to check it out!
The store is like a mix between Barnes & Noble and an Apple Store. It’s clean and well laid out, and has a legit coffee shop connected to it (Stumptown Coffee.) And of course, they sell Kindles and Echos and Dots and Fires. And books and magazines.
This was my favorite part of the entire store. They have a section that should have always existed in every book store (and probably did in some great small ones.) You can see in the photo above, they have an “If you like” -> “You’ll love” section! Of course! And Amazon has the ability to pull real data from their online business to very accurately tell you what you might like based on popular books. I loved this section.
I thought this was a fun section, where Amazon again uses their online data to tell which books Kindle readers crushed in three days on average. Very smart.
Overall, I have no idea what Bezos’s real play here is. I assume its multi-dimensional, with one part being to sell devices, one part to build deeper brand loyalty, one part to create distribution centers, one part to explore retail experiences and customers, and probably ten more parts that I’m not smart enough to realize.
But I can tell you, we spent probably 30 minutes there and I enjoyed it. A lot.