The internet has arrived in Midtown — Amazon’s first New York City brick-and-mortar bookstore opens to the public Thursday at The Shops at Columbus Circle.
Amazon previously announced their physical grocery store, and this is the first of two bookstores to arrive in the city.
The books are displayed much like they are on the Amazon website, covers face out, curated suggestions like the “you might also like” section in the Kindle store, and selected customer reviews displayed beneath titles, along with their star rating. Only books that have an average of 4 stars or more are featured in the store.
Price tags at the Amazon store are a thing of the past — you scan a book and the price depends on if you’re a Prime member or not. Uncool/non-Prime shoppers pay the suggested retail price rather than the current Amazon price, then line up and swipe — no cash on the internet, no cash in these stores — at kiosks to check out. Easy peasy.
Non-paper Amazon items are also available, like the Kindle and the Alexa series of smart home products.
With tons of physical stores closing — including Payless, Macy’s and Polo Ralph Lauren — amid the boom of online buying, plus the decline of both chain and independent bookstores in the city, Amazon’s entry into brick-and-mortar bookstores is an interesting one.
Ironically, there used to be a Borders Bookstore in that very same Columbus Circle mall.
There are six other stores in the U.S., including San Diego, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and two in Massachusetts. A second planned store will be located on 34th St. at a later date.