Amazon Books was the tech giant’s first take on brick-and-mortar retail, starting in Seattle in 2015 and setting off a new era for a company that made its name as the leader of the e-commerce revolution. But reports are starting to pile up that Amazon has abandoned several bookstore projects recently, though the company insists it remains on the hunt for new locations.
Reports and permit records indicate that Amazon has not followed through on plans to build bookstores in at least three locations in Georgia, Colorado and Idaho. Amazon’s website lists 18 bookstore locations, but none in those three states.
In a statement, Amazon didn’t address circumstances of the projects it appears to be walking away from. But the company did say it is “excited” about the concept and continues to hunt for new locations.
“After three years of operating Amazon Books, we remain excited about all of our stores,” the company said in a statement. “In September and October we opened our 17th and 18th Amazon Books location in Pacific Palisades and Marina del Rey, CA, and we continue to look for new locations to bring Amazon Books.”
Since the first store opened in 2015, Amazon has massively expanded its physical store presence, headlined by the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Thanks to that deal, Amazon has somewhere around 600 physical retail locations between Whole Foods stores, Amazon Books, Amazon Go and other concepts.
However, not every new store announcement has come to fruition.
Amazon announced about a year ago plans to open a bookstore at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta. Nate Hoffelder’s Digital Reader spotted public records last week showing Amazon has not completed permits on the project. A bookstore has yet to open in the mall, but Amazon does have one of its Amazon Pop-Up stores there.
In Meridian, Idaho, which is 10 miles west of Boise and the state’s third-largest city, Amazon had planned to build a bookstore there, but city officials told the Idaho Statesman that they never heard back from the architect and that the permit expired. Additionally, the general manager of the mall where Amazon Books was set to open, The Village at Meridian, said the store is “not happening right now.”
Amazon was set to open a bookstore at the Park Meadows Mall in the Denver suburb of Lone Tree, but the plan switched to an Amazon 4-star location, a new concept that sells primarily items rated highly on Amazon.com. Amazon announced plans earlier this year for another Denver-area bookstore, but it is unclear if that location is still happening.
Physical stores have been a major point of emphasis for Amazon in recent years, so much so that the company even broke out its physical stores revenue for the first time in October 2017. In its most recent quarter, Amazon brought in $4.2 billion from its physical stores, up from $1.2 billion at the same time a year prior. The big jump is mostly related to the acquisition of Whole Foods, as Amazon only had the grocer under its umbrella for a small portion of the third quarter in 2017.
Amazon Go is beginning to spread quickly, after the company took some time to refine technology behind the physical grocery concept. Nine Amazon Go stores have either opened or are coming soon, and the company also confirmed a future location in New York City.
There are plenty of rumors swirling about the future of the technology that powers Amazon Go as well. Amazon is reportedly testing out the technology in larger locations, and it has had conversations with officials about bringing Amazon Go to major airports.
Amazon 4-star is the newest concept, focusing on items with a rating above four stars on Amazon.com, as well as new items and best-sellers. Amazon opened its third 4-star location in Berkeley, Calif., last month, joining stores in New York and the Denver area.