Amazon is finally opening a bookstore in the San Francisco Bay Area
According to the East Bay Times' Jennifer Modenessi, Amazon's bookstore will be located in Broadway Plaza, one of the high-end shopping centers in the region.
In an email to Business Insider, Amazon's spokesperson confirmed the report, saying, "We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek and we are currently hiring store managers and associates."This will be Amazon's ninth brick-and-mortar bookstore. It already has three open in Seattle, San Diego, and Portland, with five more to come in New York, Chicago, New Jersey, and two suburban towns of Boston.
It's unclear what made Amazon choose Walnut Creek, as opposed to a more metropolitan area like downtown San Francisco. But Walnut Creek is a destination shopping town, and also follows a common theme that can be found in other Amazon bookstores: it's close to independent bookstores.
As noted in the East Bay Times report, Walnut Creek has lost all of its major bookstores in recent years and is left with a single antiquarian shop called Swan's Fine Books. Amazon's new bookstore will be located 0.3 miles, or a 7-minute walk, away from Swan's Fine Books.
Most of Amazon's bookstores are launching in community neighborhoods, instead of commercial shopping districts, going after the markets typically owned by independent bookstores. The Seattle store is just 1.5 miles away from an indie store called Third Place Books, while the Chicago store is in the historic Lakeview neighborhood, sitting within a mile of two independent bookstores.
Given how well indie bookstores have done lately, it makes sense for Amazon to go after this market with its own brick-and-mortar bookstores.
But there's still the question of why Amazon is doubling down on this market all of a sudden. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky did give one clue, however."We think bookstores ... are a great way for customers to engage with our devices, to see them, touch and play with them, and become fans, so we see a lot of value in that," Olsavsky said during a recent earnings call.
Bookstores don't just sell books, they also sell Kindles, Echoes, and any other gadget Amazon wants to put out.