We visited Amazon and Barnes & Noble bookstores to see who does it better — and the winner is clear (AMZN, BKS)

amazon books nyc 34th st

  • Amazon is growing at an incredible rate, while Barnes & Noble has been struggling for years.
  • While Barnes & Noble’s stores are more inviting than Amazon Books‘, the latter’s minimalist philosophy is probably closer to the future of chain retail.
  • That model isn’t ideal for bookstores, which are best when they can offer specialized curation and enough inventory to encourage random discoveries.

It’s hard to think of two businesses with more different trajectories than Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The former is one of the most valuable companies in the world, while the latter has struggled for years.

It’s also strange to imagine the two as direct competitors. Before opening its first Amazon Books store in 2015, Amazon didn’t have a physical retail footprint. Now, it has over a dozen bookstores that represent yet another obstacle to Barnes & Noble’s attempts to turn around its fortunes.

I visited one of each brand’s stores in New York City and discovered a depressing truth about the future of retail.

Here’s what I saw:

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I started at Amazon Books on 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. It’s the larger of Amazon’s two bookstores in NYC, covering a total of 5,200 square feet.

It resembles a cross between an Apple store and a traditional, local bookstore.

The store’s shelves and displays are more compact than a traditional bookstore’s, and the space is easier to navigate. But, like other bookstores, it displays far more inventory than many modern retail spaces.

The store is hyper-organized, but that isn’t always a good thing.

Amazon wants to make the book-shopping process more efficient, but in doing so, it overwhelms shoppers with visual information. The cards beneath each book make the store look like a warehouse, and there’s a reason most bookstores don’t display every book with its cover facing shoppers: The variety of designs and color schemes makes it difficult to decide where to look.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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