Amazon will open its seventh bookstore, and first in New York City—the heart of U.S. trade publishing and the hometown of Barnes & Noble—on May 25.
At a soft opening on May 23, Amazon Books v-p Jennifer Cast said the company did not do anything special because of the store's proximity to the country's largest publishers other than to tailor its inventory to the region, as it does in every store. One result is a prominent "Bestselling Books in New York" display. "We are excited to be here and learn about our New York customers," Cast said at a small press conference at the store.
Cast said Amazon has made a number of tweaks since its first bookstore opened in November 2015 in Seattle. For instance, in response to customer feedback, Amazon moved the self-help section from next to the religion section to beside the business books area and sales in both sections improved.
The New York store is about 4,000 sq.ft., holds approximately 3,000 titles, and has about 20 employees. The basics of other Amazon stores remain in place in New York, such as books displayed face out and the need to use a Kindle device or app to determine a book's price. A small electronics section houses a range of Kindles, plus displays for Amazon Echo and Alexa.
The opening of the New York store is the fourth outlet opened so far this year and two new New York area stores (one across from the Empire State Building and another in northern New Jersey) are expected to open by the end of the summer. Other stores are slated to be opened in San Jose, Los Angeles, Walnut Creek and Bellevue, Wash. Cast indicated that opening 10 stores this year, which will give Amazon 13 bookstores, was the limit for the company for 2017.
Cast said she has been happy with the reception to the bookstores and was especially pleased that the outlets are drawing in families. The main purpose of the stores, Cast said, was to help customers discover their next book. She said the ties to the rest of the Amazon bookselling family has resulted in some store customers adding to their wishlist. Cast also said most store shoppers also shop on Amazon.com.
With its location on the third floor of The Shops at Columbus Circle, the store is certain to draw curious publishers. Penguin Random House's headquarters is around the corner, and the offices of Simon & Schuster and Hachette are just a few blocks away.