Just two months after Amazon.com Inc. opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore, the corporation has plans to open hundreds more, according to Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive of General Growth Properties. His company operates about 120 shopping malls across 40 states.
In an earnings call with analysts, Mathrani said “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400.” AMIBA’s call to request comment from Ty Rogers, Amazon Communications Manager, was not returned.
The news comes five years after the demise of Borders Books and Music, which operated about 500 superstores before going bankrupt in 2011. Borders’ failure was attributed largely to losing market share to Amazon’s aggressive discounting.
But also faced with Amazon.com’s growth, independent booksellers have thrived in recent years. The American Booksellers Association, the national trade association for independent bookstores, has seen member storefronts grow from 1,660 in 2010 to 2,227 last year.
Meanwhile, of the surviving chain booksellers, Barnes & Noble Inc. operates about 540 stores and Books-A-Million maintains 225.
While independent bookstores are growing, the market share of e-books has flattened, providing one potential impetus for Amazon’s move into storefronts as part of its bid to be the seller of all things.
Amazon also has experimented with physical stores in the form of mall kiosks (mostly electronics) and Zappo’s shoe outlets (an Amazon subsidiary) in Kentucky and Nevada. Amazon’s Seattle flagship store stocks about 5,000 titles.
Amazon has at least one more store already under construction in San Diego.
Mathrani’s statement was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.
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