These stores, which have been open since 2015 across the Atlantic, have not been deemed sufficiently profitable by the online distribution specialist.
Conducted for almost seven years, the experiment attempted by Amazon to sell books in “hard” bookstores in the United States has not been sufficiently conclusive or profitable and will stop. The e-commerce giant confirmed Thursday, March 3, that 66 of its US stores and two of its UK stores will close, as revealed by Reuters. This decision concerns 24 “physical” bookstores in the United States, knowing that California was the best-endowed state, with seven points of sale.
Also in the sights are several pop-up stores as well as Amazon 4-Star stores which marketed an eclectic selection of products, all well-rated by customers. Amazon did not specify how many jobs would be cut.
The group, however, retains its other stores, namely its chain of organic supermarkets Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Go, and Amazon Style Stores, said a spokesperson. In total, revenues from its “hard” stores represented barely 3% of the 137 billion dollars (125.2 billion euros) in turnover achieved by Amazon in the last quarter of 2021, and they were due in a very large portion at Whole Foods.
Amazon, the world’s largest online bookseller, opened its first physical bookstore, Amazon Books, in Seattle, where its headquarters are located, on November 3, 2015. The group then assured that it would be “a physical extension of Amazon.com [which] combines the advantages of buying books online and in stores”. Drawing from the group’s gigantic wealth of information to select books according to customer ratings posted on the platform, these shops, which had then sprung up all over the United States, offered for sale what people were reading. , so essentially best-sellers.
“Retail Is Difficult”
This variation was also supposed to complete the arrival of Amazon in self-publishing, with the creation of Amazon Publishing, in order to offer titles in stores that other booksellers refused. Due to the obvious lack of profitability in stores, these self-published titles were quickly confined to online sales.
The war of booksellers was announced, in 2015, like a fight of titans. Amazon Books risked competing for head-on with the major bookstore chains across the Atlantic and many observers feared the disappearance of players as important as Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. The conflicts between booksellers and Amazon were multiple, even before Amazon opened its stores – between the question of the price of the digital book, the model for sharing the value of the book, the commercial negotiations, or the increasing weight essential for Amazon in the sale of books on the Internet.
These hostilities will continue, but only on Amazon’s favorite terrain and its core business, online sales. Michael Pachter, an analyst at California-based investment firm Wedbush Securities, sums it up: “Retail is tough, and Amazon is finding out. Momox, the German online second-hand book giant, also broke its teeth trying to diversify into “physical” bookstores to sell its second-hand books. Of the five Momox stores opened in Germany in 2012, none really worked and the experiment was stopped the following year.