SAN FRANCISCO: Twenty years after pioneering the virtual bookstore, Amazon went brick-and-mortar.
The online giant, which led the bookselling industry’s shift to the Internet, opened its first physical bookstore in its hometown of Seattle, Washington.
“These aren’t metaphorical doors: these real, wooden doors are the entrance to our new store in Seattle’s University Village,” the company said on a web page for the shop.
The store, called Amazon Books, “is a physical extension of Amazon.com” which “integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping,” the company said.
“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.”
Amazon said prices will be identical online and at the bookstore, and it encouraged customers to use its mobile application to read reviews and get more information about items.
“Amazon Books is a store without walls — there are thousands of books available in store and millions more available at Amazon.com,” the statement said.
“Walk out of the store with a book; lighten your load and buy it online.”
The stores will also be selling Amazon-branded devices such as the Kindle, Echo, Fire TV and Fire Tablet.
The move comes amid competition from retailers which seek to use a physical as well as online presence to meet customer needs.
Amazon earlier this year opened a campus store at Purdue University allowing students to pick up and return textbooks. And reports have said the company has been looking at other kinds of physical stores.
Created in 1994, Amazon began selling books online in 1995 and quickly expanded to a variety of other goods and services, with groceries among its most recent additions.