Amazon may have finally killed the bookstore once and for all — by opening one.
The online retailer has launched New York’s first Amazon Books, a glorified airport stall located on the third floor at the Shops at Columbus Circle. Upstairs from Borders’ shuttered flagship bookstore, the cramped, 4,000-square-foot space takes no cash and has no listed prices.
You have to either scan the barcode with your phone or take the book to one of the store’s scattered kiosks. (Turns out, non-Amazon Prime members have to pay the list price, which is more expensive than buying the book at Amazon.com.)
The store — Amazon’s seventh in the US — offers some 3,000 titles, all displayed face-out with a random customer review. The titles are chosen based on ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads and curator assessments. None has less than four out of five stars.
“It’s not a bookstore, basically,” says an unimpressed Yvonne Reid at the shop’s opening Thursday. “It’s just pick up and go,” says the 54-year-old Westchester resident who works in the mall.
The store does have some variety. Genres include classic fiction, sci-fi, cookbooks and travel. There’s a robust children’s selection. Yet a laughably scant photography section had just three titles. Other head-scratching displays include “Books Kindle Readers Finish in 3 Days or Less,” where the nonfiction “Hillbilly Elegy” incongruously sits among bawdy bodice-rippers.
“Frankly, it is just weird,” says 51-year-old Emily Bell, who was visiting New York.
A former bookseller, she disliked having to scan books for the price and was particularly dismayed that a large chunk of the space was devoted to Amazon products like the Kindle and Alexa.
“I guess people like gadgets, but to me there’s nothing like sitting down with a real book,” she says.
The store does…