Amazon is getting into the business of running physical bookstores, in a move that surprises many observers of online and physical retail. CNBC has a typical story here. It may open up to 400 stores.
It has already opened a store in University Village in Seattle, according to a local story.
It appears that Amazon plans to carry only the best ranking titles (and this could include DVD’s and CD’s as well as books). But the question would remain whether small presses would be welcome to submit books (as they can with Barnes and Noble) and whether bookstore returnability would be relevant.
Of course, it’s ironic that Amazon is “accused” of driving smaller independent bookstores out of business, and maybe even some larger chains (like Borders). It would be competing with itself on Kindle sales, but that’s true now with Barnes and Noble and Nook.
Will there be cafes (like Starbucks) and booksigning parties?