Amazon to Open a New York Store

It’s being reported that Amazon is opening a physical store in Manhattan in time for the holiday season. The company hasn’t confirmed this, but the move has been a long time coming. Once Amazon started paying sales tax in many states, the main disadvantage of a physical store was removed (the physical space would have nulled sales tax exemptions).

I’ve blogged in the past about how physical spaces could benefit the company, from providing an outlet for same-day deliveries to showcasing their electronic devices. It’ll be interesting to see how they treat physical books, if they also highlight the works they publish in-house and maybe even a sampling of print-on-demand titles.

If the store is a success, one imagines it’ll be replicated elsewhere. Any city big enough to warrant an Apple or Microsoft store could use an Amazon store. If the newest Kindle is as sexy as it’s reported to be, the chance to go hands-on could be good for device sales (and then e-book sales). It’s fascinating to me that the same year publishers are making moves to have their own digital storefronts, Amazon might be making its first foray into physical storefronts.

In related news, The Economist has an incredible projection showing ebooks outselling print books by 2018 (it’s not clear, but there are forward buttons below the first chart so you can see the progression). Amazon’s storefront might include books, since their titles are blacklisted from many other chains, but the move to digital suggests any physical presence will be more about devices (phones, tablets, e-readers), accessories for those devices, and perhaps even top-selling items in various departments (like electronics, toys, fitness, cooking), combined with a same-day delivery hub and pick-up locker.

Imagine being a tourist in a major city, realizing you left a charger at home or wanting a very specific item, and knowing that you can order it on your phone and pick it up at the nearest Amazon store. It may change the way we shop when we aren’t in our pajamas.

All that’s left is for Google to open up shop. And build us a car to take us there.

17 responses to “Amazon to Open a New York Store”

  1. I actually think this is a good idea, especially if Amazon carries print editions of it own imprints. Allowing hands-on testing of the latest Kindle would be extremely beneficial to Kindle and eBook sales.

    Amazon has a distribution center just outside of Nashville. I would gladly make the two-hour drive there to shop a physical Amazon store. Of course, Nashville would be far down on Amazon’s list of places to open a store, but a guy can dream, can’t he? ;)


  2. I think it’s a good idea, if they carry a good portion of their (as in, Amazon published) titles.

    “Only at Amazon” ads could start appearing on a TV near you.

  3. Maybe they could have a POD machine in the store and thereby carry every Amazon and CreateSpace title with (almost) instant delivery.

  4. Amazon should have an Espresso Book Machine to print Createspace titles in their story.

    1. Good idea, espresso machine for books in the Amazon stores. Let’s face it, this New York City test will work because it’s Christmas season. They’ve already tested pop up stores in Seattle and those went well enough. The question is, how well will it do after the holiday season? If it does well for two quarter or more, they’ll start rolling them out in major cities and after that, they’ll be everywhere like 7-11’s used to be. I wonder if their face-to-face customer service will be unique too better than Apple’s.

  5. Thanks for sharing the Economist article, I’m really enjoying it.

  6. I think it’s a good idea to have a physical store. I question the location, though.

    One of the arguments about in favor of the way Amazon does business is that they didn’t have expensive real estate to maintain like the Big Five. Now they’ll have a store in Manhattan.

    Is that the best location? My guess is that tech savvy places are already taking advantage of their services online, so the Silicon Valley wouldn’t be much better than New York. Maybe Kansas City?

    I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like the right move, to me.

    1. I’m sitting in Kansas City now using a 1GB internet connection. I have a fiber optic cable coming into the middle of my basement. The whole city is cabled for 1GB internet, and 145 Google vans are bringing it into hundreds of houses everyday. If only someone from a tech savvy place could show us how to turn it on…

      But, I would like to see Amazon keep their stores in more tech savvy places. I like avoiding sales tax on the stuff I buy from Amazon.

      1. I meant no offense. I don’t know Kansas City.

        What is a place with a growing population, where eBooks aren’t (yet) widely accepted, with real estate costs lower than Manhattan?

        If there is such a place, that’s where an Amazon store makes the most sense.

  7. As long as I don’t have to go there for any reason, including picking up my packages!

    I don’t object to other people having print books, read one myself occasionally. It’s when they insist their stuff is better than mine, and that their costs should be supported by my ebooks, that I have a problem.

    Ditto with a physical store: some people still like to waste their time going to stores, parking (hmmm – parking? Manhattan?), walking around, standing in lines. More power to them – and may it benefit them until the web has touch-on-demand software fully functional (and smell-on-demand, etc.). ‘Shopping’ is vastly overrated, and physically difficult and exhausting for some of us.

    Go to it – as long as you don’t want my online convenience affected so you can have stores. Then we would have a problem.

    1. Parking in Manhattan isn’t a problem, because virtually no-one drives a car. People who own cars tend to keep them garaged for trips out of town.

      I think the location is about traffic. They’d like their flagship store experiment to benefit from the number of feet walking by that location, which is not an insignificant number.

  8. The cost of operating a physical store in Manhattan is definitely something to consider. I like that Amazon is expanding, but I also hope they don’t suffer the problems publishers have by setting up shop and paying rent space in one of the most expensive places in the country. Hugh and Konrath have consistently blogged that one of the reasons Big 5 publishers charge so much for books (notwithstanding outdated business models, old contract clauses that benefit paper industry, and collusion) is that they have to pay rent for those Big Apple offices. Perhaps I may be reading too much into it right now. Amazon sells far more items than books, after all. Amazon is bigger than those publishers and may not run into the same dilemmas. We’ll see. But overall, I’m happy to see a potential outlet for increased Kindle and ebook sales :-)

  9. I hope they do something with the Amazon imprint books. My non-fiction title sales have not been good. I was surprised that the mighty ‘Zon wasn’t better able to promote and sell. I have been with traditional publishers, self-publishing, and one Amazon imprint title. I knew I was signing on with smart people who are on the cutting edge, but the non-fiction edge seems to be a bit dull compared to fiction. I would love to see all of their imprint authors get more physical shelf space. And I would love to see a healthy and diverse publishing ecosystem. We are moving from a scarcity model to an abundance model, and everybody is learning to adapt. It will be interesting to see Amazon does in physical space.

  10. Paying for rent in Manhattan for a retail outlet is vastly different than paying rent for a publishing office. The retail space needs the population density and walk by traffic to generate revenue. A publishing office does not. A publishing office could exist in a bunker in the middle of the desert and their customer base and operations wouldn’t change. A retail outlet is all about demographics and Manhattan is one of the most heavily populated demographics on the planet.

    I think this is a good move for them since they are trying to go head to head with Apple on many of their devices. Google will follow soon after.

  11. There must be some way this is destroying literature and culture,

  12. If they install a POD espresso machine the publishers will soil themselves. Print book in under 10 mins? Don’t mind if I do! This would be a great way to showcase POD and APub authors, and they way print should be going in the future.

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