For once, Amazon thinks INSIDE the box…store

For once, Amazon thinks INSIDE the box…store

Welcome to the 19th Century, Amazon! 😉

Thanks to one of my readers, John Tobison, for my first heads-up on this

Good E Reader article

which was subsequently picked up by other news sources, including Reuters.

According to Michael Kozlowski’s article, Amazon is getting ready to open a store in Seattle.

Yep, an actual, physical, brick-and-mortar store.

It’s  not going to be a bookstore…that would be pretty silly. I mean, I suppose Amazon could open a specialty bookstore, or a high-end collectible bookstore, or something, but I wouldn’t expect them to try to fill the vacuum left by Borders…Golfsmith is doing that. 😉

No, think of it more like an Apple store: relatively small, not a huge staff, things under glass or bolted down to prevent shoplifting…and just their own products and accessories for them.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I was a retail manager, the big struggles were against rent and salaries…and yes, what we call “shrinkage” (theft, both shoplifting and employee, and damaged goods) was a big issue.

That kind of store could make it (since it cuts down on those three elements), even though it does feel sort of backwards to me for Amazon to be considering brick and mortar.

They’ll test it out in Seattle, and if it works, consider spreading it farther.

I think Kozlowski was smart to suggest that it might coincide with the launch of the next Kindle Fire model (or Amazon Android tablet, at any rate…although as I’ve said before, I think we’ll see more than one model at the next launch).

One other important thing, and then I do recommend you read that article.

They’ll probably also carry books published by Amazon.

One of my other readers alerted me in a private e-mail (let me know if you want credit) to a story…although I had already seen it reported in another place:

NASDAQ article

The bottom line is that Barnes & Noble is not going to carry the paperbooks published by Amazon in their stores.

As a former bookstore manager (that seems to be the theme for this post), I have some advice for Barnes & Noble…

Don’t refuse to carry things to make a point to people other than your customers.

It’s really pretty simple.

If someone comes into your store looking to buy something specific, and you don’t have it, they don’t care why…you failed them. They don’t care that you may think you are doing them good in the long run. If they expected you to have it, you don’t, and your competitor has it, they may be done with you.

B&N also did this with DC graphic novels…they pulled the physical copies from their stores because Amazon had an exclusive for the e-books (in conjunction with the release of the Kindle Fire).

Yes, if Barnes & Noble doesn’t carry those Amazon-published books, that hurts Amazon. It’s going to be harder to get on the bestseller lists without those shelves.

On the other hand…

If Amazon finds other ways to sell those books, and they succeed without B&N, that’s very, very bad for B&N.

Well, not for all of Barnes & Nobles…just the paperbook selling brick-and-mortar store part.

The good news is that Amazon isn’t making kids’ toys yet…that part of B&N’s physical store business is doing well, and they won’t have to refuse to carry something their customers want to hurt somebody their customers like.

Now, if we’re talking about toys for adults… 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

11 Responses to “For once, Amazon thinks INSIDE the box…store”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Now why would I want to go to an actual Amazon store? I’d have to turn my computer off, put my Kindle to sleep, and try to remember where I left the car keys!!! Isn’t the best thing about Amazon the fact that you can have almost anything your heart desires delivered to your front door? 😉

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      That’s how I feel about it. 🙂 However, I always remember when I was teaching a class that talked about making your website available to different browsers. One student haughtily said that if the potential customer didn’t have the latest browser, they weren’t welcome to shop at their site. That’s one strategy, but you’d better have a very strong appeal to that niche market to make up for the audience you lose.

  2. Bruce Napier Says:

    I’ve always liked a quote from Sir Terry Leahy, the guy behind the success of the grocer Tesco in the UK: “The secret of retail success is easy, find out what the customer wants and give it to them. I don’t understand why people find this so hard to grasp”.



    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Bruce!


      Yes, it’s sometimes important to get to a simple aphorism like that, although there may be a lot of complications in making it work. I remember a comic strip (I actually think it was Calvin and Hobbes, with Hobbes advising Calvin) where one character was interested in all these weird fad methods to lose weight, and the other character just kept repeating, “Eat less and exercise more.”

      While that simple advice would work in the vast majority of cases, it could have other serious consequences (what if you ate less, but everything you ate was butter?).

      Amazon has three basic values: selection, price, and service. I also remember somebody asking Jeff Bezos about how hard it was to go into other countries and cultures, such as selling in China. Bezos said there were some adjustments (maybe more bike delivery, for example), but that they’d never been anywhere where the local buyers said, “I wish you had fewer items that cost more and that your service was worse.” 🙂

      Amazon’s stock dropped last week (although it’s come back considerably), despite massively higher sales. They were giving customers what they wanted, but expenses were higher…

  3. Gwen Says:

    Books-A-Million also pulled Amazon Publishing titles from their shelves. From a personal standpoint, I don’t care since I shop at neither store, but agree with you on the grander scale. If a store continually doesn’t have what the shopper wants, they stop shopping there.

    Also, acting like petulant 5 year olds, taking their toys to run home does not make me respect a store/brand.

    I do feel a bit for the authors though because it will possibly hurt them. However, the few authors that I know personally that went with say, Amazon Encore, had already been passed on by the Big 6. They self-published and then were picked up by Encore which led to exposure has been a big boon to them. So really, without Amazon being willing to take a chance on them at all, they wouldn’t have been on those shelves in the first place. (Does that make sense?)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Gwen!

      I generally agree with your comment, but things have changed since AmazonEncore (and AmazonCrossing) was picking up previously independently published books.

      With their new imprints, they have very successful authors, including Greg Bear and Ed McBain. You can see more about that here:

      Yes, the decision of Barnes & Noble (and Books-A-Million) means that they will not be carrying the 87th Precinct books…very popular books.

      • Gwen Says:

        I did forget about the Big Boys, sorry. I wonder how they feel about it?

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Gwen!

        My guess is that they feel like they’ve fallen down the rabbit hole recently. 🙂 Everything had been reasonably stable, and now it’s not. That does mean opportunity, but it’s got to be disconcerting.

  4. Pineapple Says:

    I thought when Amazon starting selling Kindles through other retailers that it would be a better idea to have Amazon kiosks in malls instead. That way customers could talk to a knowledgible Amazon representative instead of some clerk in a big box store just trying to make a sale.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pineapple!

      Yes, I can see how that would make sense…although it would be expensive to put an Amazon employee in each Target, for example.

  5. Round up #81: Draw Something, WB scripts, Target drops Kindles « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Hm…not in Target, Best Buy stores closing down…it may be a good thing that Amazon is experimenting with opening its own stores. […]

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