Barnes & Noble is growing — including old Amazon Books spots — GeekWire

Former Amazon Books location in Seattle’s University Village. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

What kind of epilogue is this?

Chain bookseller Barnes & Noble, which has struggled for years to compete with Amazon and other online retailers, is actually growing its physical store footprint. And particularly ironically, two new Barnes & Noble stores have opened at former Amazon Books locations in the Boston area.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week how the company’s store expansion is spearheading a “major real estate revival” in 2023. The Journal reported that it will increase that number to 30 stores next year.

Long before it became a tech giant, Amazon started out as an online book seller. The company’s e-commerce dominance has negatively impacted physical bookstores in its way of disrupting multiple retail industries. To make matters worse, in 2015 the company opened its first Amazon Books location, signaling its physical retail ambitions.

But in March, Amazon announced it was permanently closing 68 physical retail locations, including Amazon 4-star, Books, and Pop Up stores — a surprising change for the company’s brick-and-mortar pursuits.

Barnes & Noble location in downtown Seattle before closing in 2020. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Barnes & Noble, which currently operates from a location in Seattle’s Northgate area, closed its downtown store in 2020 after 22 years.

“Sorry to see a bookstore close by,” customer John Lewis told GeekWire at the time. “I think it’s a real damage to the city because all kinds of information and different opinions are sold here, and having good bookstores around is a real social benefit.”

Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt attributes the company’s recent success to the winds of the pandemic as more people turn to books when stuck at home.

“We now have both the profitability and the confidence to start reopening,” Daunt told the Journal.

Amazon made no such plans to change course in its final decision regarding Books and other stores. And another report this week signaled some concerns about physical market plans. Information reports that at least seven newly built Amazon Fresh locations in the US remain empty as store openings come to a halt.

The website, which refers to the locations as “zombie” grocery stores, said keeping them in limbo could be a cost-cutting tactic for the tech giant, which began laying off corporate and tech workers in November and plans to cut it further in the new store. year.

Meanwhile, in what was the first Amazon Books location in Seattle’s University Village, Barnes & Noble didn’t beat the spot. It’s now a pop-up location for athletic apparel manufacturer Vuori.

Barnes & Noble previously operated a large store in the mall for 16 years, but it closed over 10 years ago. The village no longer has a bookstore.

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