Amazon Opening Bookstores?

Customer pay for purchases at Amazon Books in Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The online retailer Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Seattle's upscale University Village mall. Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

Steve’s breakdown: That’s right! Amazon thinks with all its rich data they will be able to pick the right books for every region. It might work but they have to get the word out. Who’s gonna help with that . . . ?

SEATTLE, WA: Amazon.com has plans to take its Seattle brick-and-mortar bookstore experiment to hundreds of locations across the country, the chief executive of a huge national mall operator said Tuesday.

In an earnings call with analysts, General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani said that Amazon’s goal “is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores.”

The executive was discussing how malls are still relevant to customers and actually complementary to booming e-commerce, because they are convenient places not only to browse merchandise but also to make in-store returns.

Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle in November, betting that its rich hoard of data would allow it to pick books that local readers would actually like, making a store run more efficiently.

“One of the reasons people think Best Buy will be around forever is because most people are too stupid or too scared to buy electronics without first seeing them.”

Amazon spokeswoman Deborah Bass declined to comment.

If the remarks prove true, Amazon’s mall foray would fall in line with similar moves by other Internet-based retailers, such as Bonobos and Warby Parker. These e-commerce players see in brick-and-mortar stores not only a way to capture customers reluctant to go online, but also an extension of their brand.

Mathrani, the General Growth Properties CEO, said that for malls, e-commerce is “actually your friend, not your enemy.”

In the Philadelphia region, General Growth Properties owns Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem and Christiana Mall in Newark, Del.

This article contains information from the Seattle Times and Bloomberg News.

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