My First Amazon Bookstore Experience

Posted November 22, 2017 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Features / 8 Comments

This month the highly anticipated Amazon Bookstore opened up in our local area. Ever since I heard about Amazon opening bookstores in Seattle (I think in a news article a few years ago?) I have been READY to visit one. We’ve been passing buy it for MONTHS, seeing the “Coming Fall 2017!” signs around the construction and just waiting for it to open (Mid November is a little late in the “fall” if you ask me!) Max and I eagerly visited the store the first weekend it was open, and I have to say, I think we were both a little underwhelmed.

Me in the entrance of the store, please ignore the super attractive glare from my glasses.

Upon entering the bookstore, everything is very sleek and modern and it’s all black industrial accents and wood. There’s also a Peet’s coffer right inside the door, so it almost feels more like a coffee shop where there happen to be books rather than, you know, an actual bookstore.

I immediately made my way over the YA section, which was pretty small. I was anticipating this as I heard the inventory in the Amazon bookstores was pretty low and they only carried super highly rated books, and the books are shelved so you can see the front cover rather than the spine. There were about 3-4 of these front facing shelves total for YA, and it was pretty much just a mix of the most popular books/authors right now (Leigh Bardugo, John Green, Victoria Aveyard, etc.) and some super popular/iconic back list (Speak, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Harry Potter, etc). There were also a lot of first books in popular, older series (Cinder, Hunger Games, etc). but I didn’t spot the subsequent books, which I also felt was a bit strange (I get that they’re probably trying to get people hooked on popular series by reading the first book, but it still felt odd to have incomplete series and honestly a little random.

A cool feature I did like though was that most of the books had a review card below them that featured a quote from an actual review left by an Amazon customer. I recognized a lot of bloggers’ reviews, including the one above by the lovely Krysti at YA & Wine! It was such a cool touch and it’s actually really motivating me to step up my own Amazon review game! (How cool is it to think that a review you wrote could be on display in another state or city and that it will convince others to read a book?!)

A downside for me, however is the prices are not easily accessible. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member you would just pay the list price of the book, but if you are you have to take the book and go find a scanner to see the price, which I can image could be a huge pain when the store is super busy (of course, you could always look it up on your phone too by just looking to see the price on

I did think the Adult Fiction section was decent and they also had some cool editions of books, like this gorgeous copy of The Handmaid’s tale. I also enjoyed the “If You Like This, Try That” area, which features books across all genres and age groups. So it was cool to see the mix of traditional shelving techniques and more innovative ones.

Honestly, I can see how Amazon’s new bookstores would appeal to casual readers, as a place where they can go pick up the latest hyped up books or a really iconic backlist/something that may be on a high school reading list. However, as someone who’s an avid blogger and reader, there wasn’t much that I was interested in. If there’s a super popular book that’s recently come out that I want to read, it’s highly likely that I’ll preorder it or have already purchased it. I also didn’t see any YA books that I hadn’t heard of before, so it didn’t lend itself to the experience of wandering around a bookstore and trying new books to see if it’s something you’re interested in taking home. Max did end up picking up a book and the checkout process was really easy (you just use a credit card that’s linked to your Prime account and you automatically get the Prime price, so no hassles with having to log into an account or anything). I could see us returning if we happened to be in the area and wanted to browse, or to pick up a book we really needed/wanted and didn’t have time to wait for the two day shipping but other than that the limited selection may not appeal to readers with already extensive collections of books.

Have you been to an Amazon bookstore yet? Do you think you’d enjoy going to one if you had one near you? What are your feelings on an Amazon bookstore vs. a more traditional one like B&N or an indie bookstore? Let me know in the comments!


8 responses to “My First Amazon Bookstore Experience

  1. Interesting! I feel like this is kind of what I expected it to be like? That’s always the tough part of being a blogger and going to certain bookstores – you already have the books or know what you might want to buy lol I’m so bad at browsing stores now because I don’t just pick up anything random without checking Goodreads haha.

    Lauren (Bookmark Lit) recently posted: Currently [11/21/17]
    • Yeah I had definitely heard that the selection was going to be small, but I frequent B&N a lot which has a decent amount of titles (new and back list) so I still enjoy browsing. But I never ever buy books at random anymore- I either go just to look or I know I want to pick up a certain title. On the off chance I do come across a title I’m not familiar with that I think I may want (which rarely happens these days) I whip out my phone and start browsing Goodreads reviews before purchasing lol

  2. I’ve been curious to hear what these stores are like in person as I don’t think we will be getting these in Canada. The main store here is Chapters-Indigo and they always have a Starbucks in them. I find they give the store a very relaxed feel to it. I always see people drinking a hot coffee and flipping through a book. I think you’re right that these stores will appeal more to the “gift-buyers” of the world or the casual reader who doesn’t completely know about the online book community when it comes to recommendations.

    Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews recently posted: Blog Tour: Spider by Ilsa Madden-Mills
    • To be honest browsing bookstores has really changed for me since I became a blogger! With bigger bookstores with a wide selection I can sometimes come across something I wasn’t aware of, but it’s rare I can impulse buy anything anymore!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would probably pop into one just to check it out. I do like the “if you liked this, you’ll love this section.” That’s cool! The whole amazon prime price verses regular price is just annoying.

    • Yes in some ways it’s another way for them to really convince people to sign up for Prime. Luckily my BF has prime so I would be able to purchase the books at the discounted rate, but if you don’t it’s sort of just another bookstore with less of a selection.

  4. I hadn’t heard of the ‘If you like this you’ll love these’ feature and I think that’d be the part that would make me want to browse around in an Amazon bookstore. Otherwise, I completely agree with you: it’s so weird to just have one book in the series and not the rest! Honestly, I don’t think an Amazon bookstore is coming to my area anytime soon (the Midwest is not exactly a prime location for anything besides Culvers) and I’d rather visit independently owned bookstores (the few that are left within driving distance from me!).

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • Totally agree! I still like going to B&N because they have a decent selection of backlist to browse, but we have some awesome indie bookstores out here and I love that most of my local author events are there so I am more incentivized to make the drive out there! I think the Amazon bookstores will be super appealing and helpful to casual readers, but for book bloggers we’ve probably already read/known about all of the books they have in stock!

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