In a constant state of chaos!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazon and its Store

Amazon opened its first physical retail store on Nov 1st and I think CEO Jeff Bezos was the only person who knew about it..... for that was the amount of shock that was heard all around in the literary circles. No one saw it coming. Today, after 22 days of its opening,  it looked like a quaint little brick building just sitting there waiting for customers. Till last week there was a mile long queue around the block to get inside the bookstore (when has that ever happened!?!?!) and since the building permit allowed only 150 people inside at once, there was an employee waiting outside to count and accommodate your group inside like one would do at a very popular restaurant on a weekend.

On entering, there is only one question we first think of..... WHY?Why come back to books? Why a bookstore? Why now? Why are the books in the store arranged like this? Why hasn't this happened before? Why does things have to be different for them? Why this location? Sure Amazon started off as an online book retailer but now they have established their world presence in being able to sell anything and everything you can stick a bar code on. They have the means and methods to open up a store like Costco or Walmart or maybe even a swanky eye-catching store in an exclusive and prestigious location.

The most striking thing about the bookstore is the fact that it pays homage to a book's cover rather than the spine. Books are arranged face forward with a 1 inch distance between each of them. The books do not touch each other!! That in itself is so different because we do not buy books from a website by looking only at its spine right? It's because they took notice of that fact and realized we have the habit of appreciating a books front cover more online, than in a real bookstore and they are calling us out on it. The location is also a very smart choice because of the easy access to the college crowd. They are the ones who would be shaping our near future and college is an time where one is the most open minded to fresh ideas; also they are the ones with the most brutally honest opinions and faster moving learning curves. If a new concept does not appeal to them then it is a universally lost cause.

The store contains ONLY 4.5-5 star Amazon rated books which are available on the Amazon website, along with small review cards that are printed with one line reviews that were originally posted on the website. The books are arranged on shelves as "Goodreads Finalists of 2014", 'Most highly rated YA books on", "Books added the most on Amazon Wishlists in 2015" etc. There were a very few shelves arranged subject wise like "Cooking" and "History". I almost expected the next shelf to have a title "Books recommended based on your previous purchase history" ;-)

While I was looking at a few books I saw a one with a matte finish white cover and a thick black border, also with a review card below it.... on a second glance it wasnt a book at all.... it was a Kindle hidden among the books. They were placed among the books on random shelves, just waiting there unassumingly to take us by surprise. Maybe the goal was to create a feeling that they were not much different from books? Or to send out a subtle message that books and smart readers can co-exist? Or just to remind us of their ever growing importance in the book world and rub our "book-smell" seeking noses in it?
Major chains like Barnes and Noble who even have an e-reader called Nook to compete with Amazon's Kindle, are struggling to keep stores open. But why did it not occur to them to arrange their store like this? And that is why Amazon was the industry game changer and will continue to be so. A visit to the "Amazon Books" store is not your run-of-the-mill bookstore or library experience. It is a real life manifestation of how the Amazon website would have looked like if it had an actual physical form.
IF it works, then this is the first step towards the future of shopping!!

I found this little gem in between.... it made me laugh out loudly!!

NO, I do not care about the 2400 5-star reviews; I am not buying this book for my kids!!
They plan to make us buy more even during checkout!

Apparently the only item in the entire store without a review yet is Amazon's latest Kindle Fire Kids Edition which was released on Oct 30th'15.