Searching for Meaning Inside a Tech Company’s First Bookstore

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University Book Store—begun by students in 1900—is just up the road from University Village, and while they serve superficially different markets, it’s difficult not to see Amazon’s choice of location as yet another act of aggression toward indie bookstores, whose owners and employees are particularly suspicious of the company’s motives.

Speaking over her reading-stack-as-topography desk Cady outlined a history of other provocations by her city’s tech giant. Amazon staff have wielded clipboards in sign-up efforts directly outside of at least two of her store’s locations…

…Cady had already visited Amazon Books opening morning, as had some of her staff. They spoke about it with exaggerated grimaces, more dismissive than unnerved. “The selection is not bad,” Cady emphasized. Indeed, the store carries books by some prominent independent publishers—Coffee House Press, Europa Editions, Melville House—and the selection on their front fiction table would not have been out of place at many indie bookstores. The new Kenzaburo Oe was there, as was the new Mary Gaitskill, the new Joy Williams. It was not wildly adventurous but neither was it uninteresting.

-At The New Republic, Dustin Kurtz visits Amazon’s first physical store in Seattle’s University Village, and tries to puzzle together why they bothered, what their strategy is, and whether it’s worth the expensive real estate and $18-per-hour employee wages. He gives his visit a 2.5 rating.

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