Amazon opens 400 bookstores

AmazonOnline book seller Amazon.com has gone back to the future and plans to open up to 400 physical bookstores.

The online bookseller had a crack at brick-and-mortar stores when it opened a bookstore in Seattle in November. An expansion of bookstores, which the company has not confirmed, would be a surprise reversal from the online retailer credited with driving physical booksellers out of business.

Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of General Growth Properties said that  Amazon was opening 3-400 brick-and-mortar bookstores in shopping centres.

He said it was similar to eyeware company Warby Parker or men’s clothing retailer Bonobos, both of which opened physical stores after finding success online.

Amazon is saying nothing of course. But it has been branching out faster than the cooch grass in the garden of my old house. It is flogging everything from fresh groceries to Top Gear.

Amazon’s bookstore in Seattle carries books selected based on customer ratings and popularity on Amazon.com. The storefront also provides a space for visitors to test-drive Amazon’s Kindle, Fire TV and other devices.

If it does move into online stores it will really harm long-time rivals like Barnes & Noble, the largest US bookstore chain, which operated 640 bookstores across the United States as of January.