Amazon may open hundreds more physical bookstores

Was this Amazon's plan all along? (Probably not)

There used to be a time, not too long ago, when you could stroll into one of any number of bookstores and peruse the latest and/or greatest offerings. That's less feasible these days, since Amazon led the online charge for low prices that killed many such shops.

But curiously, Amazon may be the company that revives the concept. After opening a single Amazon bookstore location in Seattle in November, the company is now said to be considering hundreds more, according to Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of shopping mall operator General Growth Properties.

"You've got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400," he said to analysts on an earnings call today, reports The Wall Street Journal. It's not clear where his information came from, as Amazon hasn't hinted at wider retail ambitions, although he would be in a position to know given his line of business.

And if the new stores are anything like the Seattle experiment, the books will cost the same as on the website and will be featured and presented based in part on online sales and user ratings and reviews. The initial store also serves as a way for Amazon to showcase its Kindle e-readers and other gadgets, which is probably an attractive perk for the company.

In fact, it was a year ago that a report surfaced that Amazon was seeking to purchase soon-to-close Radio Shack stores across America to turn into Amazon device showrooms. Perhaps this is an extension of that purported plan. In any case, if you want Amazon's prices but not the wait - as little as one hour in some cases with Prime Now - you may be able to waltz into a local Amazon store to complete your transaction before long.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal via CNBC]