A Book Lover’s Uneventful Trip Through Amazon’s First NYC Bookstore

Warning: Not Suitable for An Average Book lover

By: Jennifer Weeks

Amazon has opened its seventh brick-and-mortar book store right here in New York City.

It’s featured at The Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle and surprisingly, it was a devastating disappointment.

Although Amazon has been a strict website-based platform since their birth, over the past few years, they’ve opened several physical book stores over the globe.

Upon entering the store, you get the look and feel of the bookstore.

All the books face outward, so customers can get a look at the cover and genre of the section. There are signs underneath each book display with the number of stars the book received on as well as the number of reviews the book has.

Similar to how Amazon showcases a book’s success on its website based platform. Each book being sold in the store was rated four stars and higher.

Also, each book doesn’t have a price on it, the price is varied on whether you’re a prime member or not. Prime members pay a few dollars less than those who do not have a prime account.

Customers must take their purchases to a scanner that is placed around the store.

The store was extremely tiny and could make you feel claustrophobic when trying to navigate your way through the sections of books. All the display tables and sections were too close together.

There was just enough space to get through the rows of books and corridors of the store, but it was not big enough for more than one person to get by at a time.

Not only was the store tiny, the sections of books were even smaller. Despite the store surprisingly carrying 3,000 books on its shelves, it lacked variety in every section.

Each novel on display was by an author who was a well known bestseller. In fact, all books being sold in the store was a mixture of best sellers, Amazon’s most rated, books written by celebrities or books that were eventually adapted into TV shows and movies.

The romance section was particularly disappointing. The section was a single wall, four shelved area, where there were no more than three books on each shelf equaling out to only twelve books in total being displayed.

This seemed somewhat unfair since all the other genres included had bigger sections. Especially since the biography area had four sections and six shelves of five books on each. That seemed a little excessive for a biography section, even though all the books were based on celebrities, like actress/comedian Amy Poehler.

Besides books for the pleasure, they did have a couple of sections of informational books such as travel guides, books for different regions and countries, languages and reading and writing. Those books alone had taken up a handful of shelves and space.

It was baffling to see those types taking up so much room and shelving that could have gone to other genres or areas that readers would want to see or perhaps read.

There is nothing wrong with those books, but there should have at least been a section with staff recommendations or most voted/viewed/rated. Its absence took away the experience of picking out a book, it could have added more variety and broaden the customer’s interests.

On the bright side, not only does the store sell books, they have a separate side for Amazon-based electronics such as the Amazon Echo, Dot, Firestick, Tablet and Kindles. They were all on display with star ratings and reviews underneath each item, like the books.

It did give a chance for customers to test the products out which is a good marketing technique for those who are skeptical about buying their products. But, this also happened to be the biggest section of the store, taking up half the occupied space.  

Beyond the books and electronics, they did have a small table featuring other Amazon sold products. In their section of miscellaneous items, they sold a variety of journals, office supplies, small décor, as well as portable keyboards and the iconic modernized typewriter.

Just after the table was a little reading nook consisting of two leather chairs, giving customers a chance to sit and enjoy a book or just to sit and test a product.

Yet, even the sitting area was minuscule. It would have been more engaging if customers had a bigger area to lounge in, making them visit often by providing a more comfortable space.

That would also allow them to read and sample books in the store, leading to spending more time and money.

Overall, the store lacked in places that needed the most attention while focusing attention on unnecessary areas.

It takes about fifteen minutes to walk through the entirety of the place. Despite the store looking and set up as a bookstore, it was closely reminiscent of an airport bookshop, enticing enough on the outside to invite customers in, but extremely limited on the inside to then scare them away.

The look and structure of the store make you feel welcome at first, but under no circumstances reader friendly.

This was set up more as a tourist attraction and as another way for Amazon to broaden their company, not a place for a reader to escape reality. If you’re a passionate reader that loves to lounge in bookstores, avoid at all cost.

Categories: Lifestyles

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