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Is Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) Going To Kill Independent Bookshops?

Amazon.com Inc (NASAQ:AMZN) Brick and Mortor Stores

Amazon.com, Inc. is betting big on physical stores, creating worries for independent bookshops in the United States. The online retailer is planning to open a physical bookstore in Chicago, Illinois, according to a report published in the Financial Times. In addition, the company is also looking to open a physical store in Portland. The e-commerce giant opened its first bookstore last November in Seattle, which is the company’s hometown.

Amazon.com Inc (NASAQ:AMZN) Brick and Mortor Stores

Chicago Bookstore

According to the report, Amazon will launch its Chicago store in 2017. The store will be located in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood, Chicago Tribune reported.

“We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to Southport in Chicago,” Amazon spokeswoman Deborah Bass told the newspaper, adding that the store is scheduled to open next year at 3443 N. Southport Ave.

The physical stores allow the company to sell books and Kindle and Fire devices, as well as market its other services.

“Amazon plans to mix the benefits of online and offline book shopping, with a selection chosen based on customer ratings, pre-order and sales figures, and its employees’ assessments,” according to Chicago Tribune.

Amazon Considering 400 Bookstores

Amazon is betting on physical stores, a serious threat to existing bookshops in the country.

Earlier this year, Sandeep Mathrani said that the online retailer plans to open as many as 400 bookstores, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400,” Mathrani said on an earning call. Mathrani, CEO of of mall operator General Growth Properties, later backtracked on that statement.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said at the shareholder meeting that his company is planning to open more stores. “We’re definitely going to open additional stores; how many we don’t know yet,” Bezos said. “In these early days, it’s all about learning, rather than trying to earn a lot of revenue,” Bezos at a shareholders meeting in May.

Amazon Books in University Village, Seattle, is the company’s first bookstore launched in 2015. The company touted the store as a physical extension of Amazon.com.

“We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping. The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments,” the company said on its website.

Prices at the physical stores are the same as prices offered by Amazon.com.

In addition to physical bookstores, the online retailer is also opening drive-up grocery locations as online grocery shopping is picking up steam in the country. The company plans to open a new drive-up grocery location in Seattle, according to planning documents discovered by GeekWire. The documents show that the online retailer wants to open a 9,759-square-foot retail space in in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, where customers will be able to pick up groceries that were ordered online. The company is calling it “a new model of grocery shopping.”

The online e-commerce giant has also opened multiple local Prime Now hubs to offer one-hour delivery on many different types of items. A report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners show that the company boosted its total Prime membership by 19 million since July 2015.

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