Amazon Books opens first D.C. location
Amazon opened its first Amazon Books store in D.C. on Tuesday. The 10,000 square foot store is located on M Street in Georgetown; ironically it is the same block that was once home to a now-closed Barnes and Noble store.
Amazon Books blends elements of online shopping with a more traditional retail experience. It’s unique because there are no price tags and every cover is visible.
“In many stores, they're spine out. So you only see the edge of the book. Here, every single book is face out,” said vice president of Amazon Books Cameron Janes.
This is Amazon's 15th brick and mortar book store, with another location set to open this summer in Bethesda. And more stores are planned for California and Colorado this year.
Each book is selected and featured in the store based on online sales, customer ratings, pre-order numbers or Kindle read rates.
Director of stores for Amazon Books Mariana Garavaglia said, “[We use] aggregated Kindle reading behavior to put together a collection of books that readers have read basically from cover to cover in less than three days.”
On one shelf display, customers can see what non-fiction titles are top-sellers in Washington. No surprise here, there are lots of politics and policy-focused books.
There is a coffee shop. It is the same Allegro brand offered at Whole Foods which merged with Amazon last year.
A children's section on the lower level is organized by age level and features tablets for kids. Shoppers will also find popular online products and several Amazon devices throughout the store.
These days, shoppers buy all sorts of stuff from Amazon, but some may not realize that 20+ years ago the online company started with books.
“We're working backwards from the customer. This store is all about discovery,” Janes said.
Without price tags, customers can must scan an item at computers located throughout the store to find price information. Or they can use their Amazon app to take a photo of the front cover of a book which then pulls up the pricing, description and customer reviews.
“All the books stores are disappearing and I think that's depressing,” said customer Lisa Ju. “But yeah, I think it's super exciting.”
“I like the concept. All in all, I hope the store succeeds because we need more book stores,” added Yervant Varjabedia, another customer.