Amazon has officially opened a series of pop-up stores in retail malls in San Francisco. This is the first time the online e-commerce giant opened a physical location. There are a number of Kindle e-Readers and Tablets on display to give transient shoppers the ability to play with the devices and buy them on the spot.
Walmart, Target and a number of other big box retailers in the USA have dropped the entire line of Amazon branded devices because they did not want to become “showrooms” for the company. The only retailer to stock the Kindle is Best Buy, but Amazon is very concerned with the ability of customers to play around with the hardware. When you sell tablets in an online environment it is hard to get that tectonic visceral experience.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the temporary stores are in a handful of malls as part of a marketing campaign. The majority of them are only in operation for two weeks.
A few years ago we broke the news that Amazon had firm plans to open a retail store, once their new corporate headquarters was completed in Seattle. Architecture draft plans had a cafe and bookstore, where it is thought that the books Amazon publishes with their New York imprints will be available to purchase. It is unlikely we will see a full on retail store until 2015.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.