I recently moved to Portland, OR, so I'm still getting the lay of the land. One day, I did what every red-blooded American does and went to the mall. Dun, dun, dunnn. To my surprise, I ended up walking past an Amazon store. That's right, Amazon, as in the corporate internet giant that sells everything from books to toilet paper, utilizing speedy delivery to appease our desire for instant gratification.
I walked past without going in. But I read a review about the stores (the one I walked past is only the third brick-and-mortar Amazon store to open nationwide), and it stuck with me. This past week I had some time to kill and happened to be near the mall. So I walked over, and I found myself in the Amazon store.
I liked it. There, I said it. I liked it. For one thing, it's laid out neatly. All of the books are face out so you see nothing but covers, just like looking at the selection on the website. Each book has a placard beneath it with a review and how many stars it has on Amazon. The people who work there are extremely helpful and friendly. As an introvert, I usually dread salespeople approaching me, but there was no hard sale at the store, only enthusiastic people ready to help however they could, even if that meant leaving you alone to browse.
They carried a lot of books you'd find in any other bookstore, but they also had different books. I found the selection intriguing, and I really, really like how all of the books face out. It makes it so much easier to browse.
If you're a Prime member, you get the online price in the store. I bought a cookbook that was marked $29.99. It's a lovely cookbook with lots of recipes and brilliant color photos on every page. It's totally worth $29.99. My cost? Under fourteen dollars. And, I used the Amazon app to pay for it. It was a pleasant shopping experience and an easy check out. It combined the ease of online shopping with the tactile sensation of handling books.
The big question is, will I forgo local mega independent store Powell's for Amazon? Not likely. Powell's is still my favorite. In fact, the day after visiting Amazon's brick-and-mortar store, I went to Powell's to purge my guilty conscience. Will I forgo Barnes & Noble for Amazon? Again, not likely. But will I stop in the store again any time I'm at the mall? Most likely, yes.
It's a good thing I'm not a mall rat.
I write fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2007, and I belong to an online writing community called Codex. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm addicted to coffee and chocolate.