Written by Emily Ogden
Amazon is set to open one of its two newest Amazon Books stores in Austin, Texas, according to the Austin-American Statesman. The store will make its home in the Domain shopping center in early 2018. Since 2015, Amazon Books has opened thirteen brick-and-mortar locations in seven different states.
The stores utilize the same power of analytics that have made their online book sales so successful. As reported in the Mercury News, Amazon Books vice president Cameron Janes said, “All 3,800 titles in the store are rated four stars or higher by customers on Amazon or are among the top sellers.” Each book is selected based on its popularity on Amazon, and some are even paired with lesser-known titles to allow shoppers to explore new books—just like the website.
Amazon has become a national concern for print bookstores that can’t compete with Amazon’s speed and selection. On a local scale, the opening of this store can be added to a long list of concerns regarding Austin’s ongoing gentrification. Surprisingly, however, this situation might just end with the little guys coming out on top. Wisconsin Public Radio predicts that in this age of e-books, small and unique bookstores will outperform larger corporations such as Barnes and Noble.
In this exceedingly competitive environment where book buyers can order and receive new titles in a matter of days, bookstores will need to rely on their distinction to keep them afloat. “Now it is more about the owner’s personality. It’s about the curation: which books are in the store, how they are servicing you by helping you pick books from the great sea that’s available,” said Publishers Lunch founder Michael Cader in an interview on WPR’s “The Morning Show.” Although it may be the era of Amazon, the corporation is still struggling to fill the niches of community and personality that make the presence of local bookstores so desirable.
If you want to see what Austin’s quirky, independent homes for books have to offer, feel free to start by exploring any (or all) of the stores in this article by the Austinot.