Whoever says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover clearly hasn’t been to Amazon Books.
The online retail giant opened its second NYC brick-and-mortar bookstore in midtown on Tuesday, where 3,700 of Amazon’s highest-rated titles line the shelves face-out.
“By putting the books cover-out, we let them communicate their own essence and make it wonderful for browsing. It lets the books call to you,” Jennifer Cast, vice president of Amazon Books, said at the grand opening. “It sounds corny, but I still truly remember when I found my favorite book by someone I had never heard of before.”
Unlike your average bookstore or library, the 5,200-square-foot store is organized in several different sections, from top sellers in New York, to books you can finish in three days or fewer and hidden gems from top-selling authors. Books found in the store have been stamped with a four-star or higher rating by Amazon.com readers. Black card tags in front of each title feature reader reviews, something Cast compared to “hearing from a friend or another book lover” who has already enjoyed the novel.
“One of the things we’ve learned since launching the bookstores is that because of the way we’ve merchandized the books and selected the books, the bookstore has actually become a destination,” Cast said. The midtown store is the company’s 11th Amazon Books location since opening its flagship in Seattle in 2015.
Bookworms who’ve dropped by the city’s first Amazon bookstore at the Shops at Columbus Circle (which opened in May) will be in for a surprise at the new location. Mimicking the inaugural spot’s setup — which features a reading area, tech table and rotating product display with seasonal buys like coffee pots and mugs — the midtown store will also be serving up lattes for an extra-cozy vibe.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a Portland-born chain found inside Ace Hotel New York on West 29th Street, and on West 8th Street in Greenwich Village, will be purchasable at the bookstore. Open between 6:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., the store will let you grab a signature sparkling original, ginger citrus or honey lemon cold brew and other drinks while you peruse the shelves.
The midtown Amazon Books is just the latest move for the company that now has brick-and-mortar shops across the country, including Chicago, San Diego and Portland.
Cast said Amazon is prepping to open two more bookstores by 2018, but kept the lid on whether or not there are plans to open an outer-borough location.
“We haven’t announced any other stores. We’ll have 13 by the end of the year,” she said. “We love watching customers’ reactions and we do have plans to keep opening bookstores.”
Midtown’s Amazon Books, at 7 West 34th St., is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.