Amazon not coming to a mall near you

Late last year,, the online giant, opened its first-ever 7,400 square-foot brick-and-mortar store in Seattle’s University Village. The store, branded simply as “Amazon Books,” sells top-rated books and Amazon hardware like the Kindle, Echo, and the Fire line of devices. Prices at the store mirror their prices making the store a destination rather than a showroom.  We’ve all done it – visited a store to see a product then order it for less through online channels.

Last week, comments by Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, had media sites buzzing with reports that Amazon was planning more physical stores across the country. During an earnings call with the Wall Street Journal, Mathrani stated:

“You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400,”

He later backpedaled and Amazon invoked their policy of not commenting on speculative talk. Regardless, that got me thinking. General Growth Properties owns, develops, and operates regional shopping malls across the United States with headquarters in Chicago – 110 N. Wacker to be exact.

Locally, they manage Water Tower Place, Northbrook Court, and Oakbrook Center – all prime locations for an Amazon Books. But, that’s neither here nor there, until Amazon breaks its silence on the matter.  Alas, there’s comfort in knowing that Barnes & Noble remains but a hop away in Oakbrook Center.

Die-hard customers of the old Borders location just down the road, it took some time for my wife and me to warm up to the colder feel of B&N in Oakbrook Center. But, they’ve made strides in making the store more inviting, carry a wider array of products, and more recent, workshops. My favorite Linux magazine titles are always in stock and the robust sci-fi and fantasy collection has enough titles to keep my wife spellbound for hours at a time.

We’re both fans of print when it comes to books. We need the page-turning, tactile feel of the medium. So, despite our Amazon Prime account, I can’t remember the last book we ordered from it. For those particular purchases, we opt for the store experience and use our B&N membership.


Read more at the WSJ (subscription required)  Alternatively, GeekWire has a great feature of the Seattle Store complete with pictures.  Interestingly, the store seems to have that Borders “warmth”.