Now, Amazon is bringing its experimental, data-driven approach to physical retail to Midtown Manhattan, the heart of the publishing industry. On Thursday, Amazon will open a store — its seventh — in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The 4,000 square-foot space, near the site of a now-shuttered Borders store, is just a few blocks from Penguin Random House, and walking distance from Simon & Schuster and Hachette’s Midtown headquarters. This summer, the company plans to open another store on 34th Street.
In a city that prides itself on being a literary mecca, the response to Amazon’s arrival was, unsurprisingly, mixed.
“I’m happy there’s a new store where people can see books and encounter them, but I’d rather we were in there,” said Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, an independent bookstore on the Upper West Side. “If I had the money, I would go and open a store right next to Jeff Bezos’s store.”
Amazon is planning to open six more stores this year, including outlets in Bellevue, Wash.; Paramus, N.J;, and San Jose, Calif.
The company’s push into physical stores might seem at odds with its origins as an online retailer. But it fits with Amazon’s continuing expansion into nearly every corner of the publishing industry. Since its founding more than 20 years ago, Amazon has become the dominant book retailer, and has created niches along the way.
It accounts for nearly half of all book sales in the United States, including print and e-books, according to the Codex Group, which analyzes the industry. With the…