Amazon growing its high street book presence
Company opening more book stores in the US
Amazon is continuing to increase its presence on the high street by opening its ninth bricks and mortar bookshop in the USA, with more opening in five other locations. It opened its first in Seattle in 2015.
Last week The Sunday Times reported that Amazon was looking at retail sites in London, with a view to opening Amazon Go grocery stores. However, Amazon declined to comment on the report.
According to the Bookseller magazine:
“UK booksellers have previously reacted strongly to the suggestion that Amazon might open a brick and mortar store in Britain.”
Emma Corfield Walters from independent Bookish in Crickhowell told the publication:
"I would be absolutely horrified if it opened in London. I would be worried about it. If they’re able to harness that massive buying power they have and bring it to the high street… I don’t know if it would wipe out small town bookshops, but certainly bookshops in big cities.”
Decline of the bookshop
The Booksellers’ Association (BA), a trade association for booksellers in the UK, representing over 95% of all bookshops has seen a massive decline in membership since Amazon first opened online. When Amazon entered the market in 1995 the BA had 1,894 outlets in membership. Now it has 905.
It argues that Amazon’s growth means that “high streets and communities no longer have booksellers who provide author events, go into schools, churches or libraries, or run book clubs and reading groups”.
The reason for this decline is due to the cheap prices that Amazon can offer, largely due to their well documented tax avoidance.
Many will further question the ethics of a company that destroyed bricks and mortar bookshops only to open its own physical shops on the rubble of those it has bulldozed.