Online retail giant Amazon is opening a brick and mortar bookshop in Seattle, calling it a "physical extension" of its business. While the move will most probably be welcomed by consumers, rival bookseller Waterstones is not impressed and says it hopes the venture "falls flat on its face".
The Amazon store will stock Amazon.coms most popular books, priced the same as the website offerings. Blurring the line between online and offline even further, customers will also be able to tryout Amazon's devices, including the Fire TV and Kindle.
Jennifer Cast, Amazon Books vice-president, says the online giant will open its "real, wooden doors" on November 3 at the Seattle University Village.
"Amazon Books is 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," she says.
The shop will stock 5,000 books in 5,500 square feet of space. The majority of books will be chosen based on Amazon.com and Goodreads customer ratings, sales, and pre-orders, as well as the shop’s in-store staff.
Waterstones managing director James Daunt is unimpressed.
"With only 5,000 titles in a space in which Waterstones would put over 10 times that number, it appears to be a tentative dip of the toe into physical bookselling waters. Clearly, however, a skim of the bestsellers away from true bookshops would be very damaging. We very much hope that it falls flat on its face."
The features editor at the Bookseller magazine Tom Tivnan says he questions why the online giant is experimenting with a bricks and mortar store.
"It goes against the Amazon model of being a never-ending bookshop that is not reliant on having books on shelves," he says. "I can see it going to a limited number of cities like New York or possibly London, but I don't think it will have a huge impact."