Amazon, the online retailer that killed off so many independent bookshops, is getting ready to launch its own brick-and-mortar book chain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of a major mall operator, General Growth Properties, revealed on Tuesday that Amazon intends to launch hundreds of bookstores.
"You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400," General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani said during an earnings call today. As a point of comparison: Barnes & Noble, one of the few remaining bookstore chains in the U.S., has 640 stores nationwide.
Amazon actually debuted its first bookstore last November, in the company's hometown of Seattle. Amazon Books, as it was dubbed, was touted as a "physical extension" of the e-commerce site; the store usually carries around 5,000 book titles and also sells Amazon devices.
"We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping," Amazon Books VP Jennifer Cast said at the time. "The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments. These are fantastic books! Most have been rated four stars or above, and many are award winners."
In other words: Having been partially responsible for the demise of Borders and a host of independent booksellers, Amazon thinks it can do physical bookstores better than the whole lot of them.