Ever browse in a bookstore, then look online at Amazon.com on your personal device to see if you can get the books for a cheaper price? You really shouldn’t do that, since it could drive your local bookstore out of business.
But now you can have the same experience guilt-free at an Amazon.com bookstore I visited on foot. No, this was not some virtual experience. This physical store in Seattle’s University Village Shopping Center is one of only three they’ve built.
Inside, they have typical bookshelves. I looked over the science fiction and fantasy selections and saw they were noticeably different from what I see in the three Barnes & Noble bookstores I frequent. That’s because they base their selections on rankings on the Amazon.com website—obviously.
Each book has two prices: For instance, the list price for this paperback Alexander Hamilton bio was $20.00. But if you were an Amazon Prime member, you would pay the online price. Currently, that is $13.27.
I don’t think this is simply a way of driving people to become Prime members—it would be a hideously expensive way to do so. No, many people want to feel a book, weigh it in their hands, and leaf through it before buying.
But at some point in the sick, twisted mind of Jeff Bezos, did he plot on driving other brick and mortar stores out of business, to be replaced by his own? When he saw Borders go through its death spiral, did he know his secret plan was working?