Amazon bookstore opens in New York

- Amazon, the online giant that began as a virtual bookstore, has opened an actual bookstore in New York City that you can walk into and shop in. Why?

Vice President of Amazon Books Jennifer Cast pitches the city's first physical Amazon store (and the country's seventh) as an extension of Amazon.com and (stop us if this sounds familiar) a revolution for the way we buy our books.

"We built this store to be a discovery mecca for customers," she said.

For those who remember the Borders and Barnes & Noble stores now closed in the area of Columbus Circle and find the idea of the original online bookstore -- the one that put so many brick-and-mortar booksellers out of business -- opening its own physical location counterintuitive then you aren't alone.

"I'm wondering how this store really differs from Barnes & Noble," said Bruce Antelman, who identified himself as a satisfied Prime subscriber. "I read a lot and I use Amazon a lot."

He said he liked his ability to scan a barcode beneath any book in this Amazon shop to instantly access all its online user reviews before choosing from a variety of methods how he wanted to purchase said book. But for Bruce and others, much of this Amazon bookstore resembled (perhaps not shockingly) a bookstore.

"We have our Echo product line, our FireTV, our Kindle product line so customers can explore the store and check out the latest devices for Amazon, which they've been telling us for 10 years they want to do," Cast said. She pointed out that Amazon bookstores represent the first and nearly only locations where customers may handle Amazon hardware before purchasing it.

Whether short-lived experiment on which the company quickly turns the page or a revolutionary bestseller, Amazon bookstores seem unlikely to make or break the online behemoth. In Columbus Circle Thursday, on its first day in existence, New York City's Amazon Books appeared at worst a great marketing success.

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