The Future of Holiday Shopping

DSC_0616By Amanda Moses

The holidays are drawing closer and with the festivities come the shopping sales. This year, Amazon, one of the top sites people visit to purchase gifts for loved ones, opened two retail stores in New York City. Amazon Books are located in two Manhattan locations, Columbus Circle and Herald Square.

These stores are unlike Barnes & Nobel and the Strand; they have an almost futuristic appeal to them.
While general bookstores stock a wide variety of New York Times’ Best Sellers and other classics, Amazon Books filters through their purchases and uses algorithms to determine the books people in that specific location enjoy most. According to the company’s website, “Amazon Books is a physical extension of Amazon.com that integrates the benefits of offline and online shopping to help you discover products you’ll love, like your next great read. We select books based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales,
popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments.” If you are looking for a good deal on books or
e-readers for the holidays, Amazon Books may just be for you.

Upon entering the Columbus Circle outlet, you are greeted with books stacked onto shelves, like any other bookstore; however, there are no prices on the shelf labels. Instead, you are encouraged to download the free Amazon Prime application on your smartphone.

Once downloaded, you shop with your mobile device, almost like you would at home. You use the
application to scan the book you want, and then it tells you two prices: the market price and the Prime membership deal. Once you take a picture of the item, you just use your phone to purchase it. No
need to bother with a cashier, except to have your item bagged and to show a barcode with your proof of purchase (which appears on your phone after your purchase the item). It’s the beauty of buying something online without having to wait or pay for shipping.

The downside of Amazon Books is that it’s really a store that Prime members get the most benefits
from. For example, if you wanted to by the latest Stephen King and Owen King novel, and you are a
Prime Member, that book would cost $19.49 instead of the retail price $32.50.

So if you are in Manhattan doing some holiday shopping, and you want to purchase a book for a loved
one, check out the Amazon Books outlets.
Photo by Dean Moses