Amazon Book Store to Open in UTC

Amazon Opens a New Store this Summer in La Jolla

Photo from UTC La Jolla

The company that taught the world how to buy books online is currently implementing a brick-and-mortar bookstore at the Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla, California. The San Diego store will resemble the location that Amazon opened up in November of last year in the University Village of the Seattle-area mall. The UTC store spans 7,500 square feet, with 5,500 square feet of retail space. 

The Westfield UTC's Amazon Books will sell a limited selection of Amazon’s best-reviewed books. The location will also double as a showroom for the e-commerce brand’s hardware lineup that includes the Kindle, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and Amazon Echo. It will be situated across from the Apple store. Book buyers should expect a different experience at the Amazon Books store. The titles of books displayed in this store are chosen based on online appeal and are displayed face out to emphasize the cover appeal. Customers will also be able to check the price on the Amazon app after scanning the product.

Amazon Books' second brick-and-mortar store in La Jolla is not the place for people looking for fine literature or a more organic book-buying experience. In fact, it seems as if one of the main goals in opening Amazon Books is to promote their gadgets by allowing customers to pick up and use the devices. 

Independent bookstores have been enjoying a resurgence after years of decline. In the last six years, the number of bookstores has grown according to the American Booksellers Association, with a ten percent in sales. People still like the in-person book buying experience. The growth shows a reluctance of book fans in giving up on book shelf browsing. However, even with this growth, small business and jobs have dealt with the change that has come from Amazon’s online expansion. Amazon’s retailer of electronic books has already devastated chains like Borders and has wounded Barnes & Noble. Many people want to have the ease and low-cost of online purchases, and this desire has given large companies a demand for retail space in trying to keep up with both sides of the market. 

Amazon Books UTC La Jolla

The idea of Amazon hitching itself to the small bookstore bandwagon might be intimidating at first, but it also validates the role that traditional bookstores play in the retail ecosystem. The Amazon user experience focuses on functionality instead of emotion. That focus makes it hard to sell inspirational or lifestyle brands that are created for the experience-oriented shopper. Right now Amazon does dominate the book market, but the brick-and-mortar book retailing concept of browsing and creating a community is something they do not have a hold of. Sales of printed books have been fending off e-book sales, which fell eleven percent in 2015, according to the American Association of American Publishers. 

Still, there is a slight skepticism at Amazon being a successful brick-and-mortar chain. Two Amazon Books stores might prove to have a “novel” appeal, but many of them would not be as exciting to shoppers.

The real truth is that shoppers want options. They want convenience of online shopping as well as the tactile, emotional experience of going to a bookstore. This means that both styles of consumer experience are needed for our book-buying ecosystem. Both experiences are needed, and hopefully Amazon will figure out a way to exist without disturbing this delicate system.