I think we all know about it. Amazon. The giant online retail site that started off as a small book shop on the internet. They may be more than just books these days, but in recent years they went out & created their first ever brick & mortar store in Seattle, Washington.
These days there are around 13 locations across the US, but only as of March 2018 has that list included Austin, Texas. And I recently FINALLY got to visit it! So let’s talk about my experience, shall we?
This location is only about a 15 minute drive from my home. It’s in the center of a wonderful (yet crowded) outdoor shopping “mall”. Stores EVERYWHERE. And a parking garage is located extremely conveniently right around the corner! Park. Walk 2 minutes. Boom! You’re there!
And it looks nice from the outside, let’s be honest.
The BIG front windows have very nicely organised displays catering to whatever is going on at the moment. Right now its focus is on Father’s day & all the student graduations happening!
When you walk in you’re greeted by super nice employees & all the things! To the right of the entrance, they have a whole section devoted to non-book Amazon products. Amazon Fire, Kindles, Echos, & all sorts of tech things! And to the left is where the books start. All the wonderful books.
Now, since this isn’t your regular book store, it doesn’t have nearly the selection that others would, but there’s still TONS to look through & each book has the current rating from Amazon’s site with a snippet of a review! It’s pretty cool.
There are little signs around that you scan with your Amazon shopping app that’ll take you to the location-specific page to check for what you’re looking for, reviews/prices of the items you’re looking at in store, & that’s also the main way you pay!!
Here’s what the app looks like when I used it on my Samsung Galaxy S8:
Amazon Books might not have the vast in-store selection of other larger book stores, but you still have everything sectioned off like other places! You’ll find a kids section, YA, Comics, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Cookbooks, Magazines, you name it! It really does feel like every other book store overall, but with small differences.
I ended up picking up about 3 books total. Two fantasy novels that I’ve heard great things about, & a book on tarot! I spent a bit of time just wandering around & getting a feel for it. An employee even noticed my Gamer Cat bag & we talked for a minute about how much we LOVE that web comic, (it’s great, you should read it) before I headed up to check out.
When you get up to the register, you get the regular last minute small items like markers & such, & right behind the counter on the wall is a big roll that has a GoodReads Quote of the Day, chosen by the amount of users that liked it! Similar to when you go on the GR website/app itself! I thought this was a really nice touch; definitely something you don’t see at other physical stores, for sure!
The “registers” Are actually more like little touchpads & you pay through the amazon app on your phone. When you click “pay with app” it brings up a QR code that the cashier will scan. Since I’m a Prime member, I’m not entirely sure how you would pay for something if you don’t have an amazon account, but it DID look like there were slots for a credit/debit card to go. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how that all works, but feel free to come visit yourself & we can find out together!! 😀
There was even a section at the register for books about Austin/Texas & by authors from here!! So you can read a little about the area while you’re visiting as well! I think this is a great idea; don’t even care who you are. You like books! We’re basically family ok
Basically, this was a trip I would definitely make again & I love having a physical Amazon Books to visit! It feels very on-brand but still different. I loved the stores layout (very easy to find what type of book you’re looking for), all the little touches like reviews that make it feel very much like an Amazon web page come to life, & the very helpful & kind staff!
I am a fan of all of this & I am so so happy they finally expanded out of Seattle & came to Austin. Good job, Amazon!
Last thing; can we talk about these cute paper bags they give you?
Way to advertise Audible & Kindle, Amazon.
Definitely 100% on-brand!!