Amazon sources close to the situation have told us that the company is planning on rolling out a retail store in Seattle within the next few months. This project is a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable. They intend on going with the small boutique route with the main emphasis on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives and selling their e-readers and tablets.
A source has told us that they are not looking to launch a huge store with thousands of square feet. Instead they are going the boutique route and stocking the shelves with only high margin and high-end items. Their intention is to mainly hustle their entire line of Kindle e-Readers and the Kindle Fire. They also will be stocking a ton of accessories such as cases, screen protectors, and USB adapters.
This was an inevitable move. And given that it's Amazon, the customer service will be out of this world. I hope they also have parking, and are next door to a luscious restaurant/bar/cafe. And performance space.
Comfort. Good light. Easy access. Good coffee. Excellent service. Book toys to play with. Book accessories to croon over. Books to actually heft and fondle. Joy in the job. My guess? This will be a Seattle readers' paradise.
Readers don't much care about the economics of publishing, or the long-term game. They want a relaxed, thoughtful, well-informed and, above all, easy shopping experience. Amazon will give it to them.
Indies will have to pick up their game. And soon. Rumour never escapes Amazon's event horizon until they are ready to implement.