Amazon is bringing its next physical bookstore to New York City.
The company confirmed that it would be setting up its fourth Amazon Books shop in the Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan.
“We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to The Shops at Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center in New York City in 2017,” a spokeswoman wrote in an email.
Already operating three bookstores in Seattle, Portland and San Diego, the gallows humor of Amazon the bookstore killer bringing a chain of bookstores back to the U.S. shouldn’t be lost on anyone.
Indeed, the gone-but-not-forgotten bookstore chain Borders had a store in the retail space where Amazon will be opening its new 4,000 square foot store.
Since it opened its first bookstore in 2015, Amazon has been steadily easing customers into the idea of an integrated online and offline shopping experience.
In Seattle, that’s meant setting up the employees-only concept store, Amazon Go. The store features the company’s “just walk out” technology, which uses a combination of machine vision, sensors, and data science to monitor shoppers in the store and then automatically charge their Amazon accounts for the things they take out of the shop.
As my colleague, Brian Heater, wrote last year:
With Go, a sort of culmination of those two efforts, Amazon becomes the largest presence in a recent trend to remove the lines (and human aspect) of checkout from the grocery shopping process, including Selfycart and, more prominently, Instacart, which has announced its intentions to move in that direction. The store will be open to all Amazon customers at some point early next year. If past instances are any indication, this could be the start of something big.
The Amazon Books stores serve a dual purpose for the company. They provide another testing ground for the company’s experiments with physical retail and become a showroom for the hardware projects that Amazon continues to roll out.
It’s worthwhile as the company pushes an increasingly integrated retail experience with Amazon at the center of an expanding web of services.