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Photo via Amazon.

[Follow up: Inside Amazon’s first bookstore: How the online giant is combining digital with physical retail]

Internet giant Amazon.com, which got its start selling books online, confirmed this afternoon that it will open its first-ever brick-and-mortar bookstore at Seattle’s University Village on Tuesday morning.

The company sent a letter to customers on Monday with details about the 7,400 square-foot store, which is called “Amazon Books.” In the letter, Amazon Books VP Jennifer Cast calls the store a “physical extension of Amazon.com.”

Amazon will sell top-rated books that are available on Amazon’s website and also feature Amazon hardware, including the Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire tablet, as “Amazon device experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show the products in action.” Books will have identical prices to those on Amazon.com.

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Photo via Amazon.

The store’s opening confirms earlier GeekWire reports about the location at University Village, an upscale shopping complex north of downtown Seattle where companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Verizon also have stores.

This project became a subject of intrigue last month when a report by the book industry newsletter Shelf Awareness identified the location, which previously housed a sushi restaurant, as the possible site of Amazon’s first real retail store.

Amazon kept its bookstore secret as construction workers
Amazon kept its first brick-and-mortar location secret as it prepared to open Amazon Books.

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Amazon has been dipping its toes into physical retail with projects such as kiosks in shopping malls and package pickup locations on college campuses, but creating its own bookstore takes things to a new level — particularly given that the company has had a reputation for killing off small brick-and-mortar booksellers.

“We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping,” Cast wrote in the letter to customers. “The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments.”

University Village, previously home to a Barnes & Noble store that anchored the fast-growing shopping complex before closing in 2011, has been rumored as a potential site for an Amazon store as far back as 2012. Amazon has a history of testing out new projects first in its home region, from the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service to the new Amazon Flex crowdsourced package delivery network.

The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Here’s the note from Cast in full:

November 2, 2015

Dear Amazon Customer,

Tuesday morning at 9:30, Amazon Books will open its doors. These aren’t metaphorical doors: these real, wooden doors are the entrance to our new store in Seattle’s University Village.

Amazon Books is a physical extension of Amazon.com. We’ve applied 20 years of online bookselling experience to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online book shopping. The books in our store are selected based on Amazon.com customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators’ assessments. These are fantastic books! Most have been rated 4 stars or above, and many are award winners.

To give you more information as you browse, our books are face-out, and under each one is a review card with the Amazon.com customer rating and a review. You can read the opinions and assessments of Amazon.com’s book-loving customers to help you find great books.

Prices at Amazon Books are the same as prices offered by Amazon.com, so you’ll never need to compare our online and in-store prices. Nevertheless, our mobile app is a great way to read additional customer reviews, get more detailed information about a product, or even to buy products online.

Amazon Books is a store without walls – there are thousands of books available in store and millions more available at Amazon.com. Walk out of the store with a book; lighten your load and buy it online (Prime customers, of course, won’t pay for shipping); buy an eBook for your Kindle; or add a product to your Amazon Wish List, so someone else can buy it.

At Amazon Books, you can also test drive Amazon’s devices. Products across our Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet series are available for you to explore, and Amazon device experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show the products in action.

Tomorrow is literally Day One for Amazon Books, and we hope you will visit and share your ideas and feedback by dropping a card in our suggestion box or clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

We are located at 4601 26th Ave. NE in University Village, next to Banana Republic and across from JOEY Kitchen. We are open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

We hope to see you in the store –

Jennifer Cast
VP, Amazon Books

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