Amazon alone: Clear cutting


For the last couple of days, speculation has been rife that Amazon may dot the American landscape with cookie-cutter, brick-and-mortar stores, much like its weird flagship store in Seattle, Washington. True or not, it seems like a backwards move. (But there are a lot of these everything-old-is-new-again movements afoot; I was surprised to realize on the anniversary of the Challenger explosion that some things were more “modern” and future-oriented then, in 1986, than now – for example, we had an active space shuttle/space exploration program that people were vocal and excited about; we had the Concorde. Those things are considerably muted or non-existent now…).

The Amazon bookstore idea is stupid. I went to the Amazon flagship store in U Village in November soon after it opened (had just read an article about it before coming to town and imagined I would never go there – and why would I want to?). It seems ridiculous and contrary not just to trends and user habits but also to economic sense. In fact, Amazon came into being and thrived, in large part by driving all the Borders and Barnes & Noble stores out of business – and some indie stores too… Essentially, Amazon clear cut the competition, getting it completely out of the way. Then Amazon replants and springs back up as the only one kind of tree – the only tree – in the forest… shrewd but lame?

I hated the store – hated going in only to see the top-selling, most popular crap that would never have interested me anyway, and the “long-tail” stuff I would have searched for on Amazon, I could have done from the comfort of home, right? It still seems like a weird waste of money and space.

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