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Amazon opens a brick and mortar bookstore in Silicon Valley — plus another — this week

Amazon opens a brick and mortar bookstore in Silicon Valley — plus another — this week
Amazon Books in Seattle (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Online retail giant Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Silicon Valley this week. As of Tuesday, the San Jose store already "appeared to be doing a brisk business" the Mercury News reports; it will hold its official grand opening Thursday.

Another Amazon bookstore will open in Washington state this week, in Bellevue. That will bring the number of brick-and-mortar shops operated by the online retail giant to 10.

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The San Jose bookstore is Amazon's second in California; the company opened a location in San Diego last summer. Two more California stores are on the way — one in Walnut Creek and one in Los Angeles' Westfield Century City shopping mall.

Amazon will open its Bellevue bookstore on Thursday, the Seattle Times reports. Earlier this year, the company quietly leased 354,000 square feet of office space in Bellevue, which is east of Seattle, across Lake Washington. Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his Bellevue garage before moving it to nearby Seattle.

When the company opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle in 2015, it shocked some publishing industry observers. Proprietors of independent bookstores have long been critical of the company for undercutting locally owned businesses, most of which can't afford the deep discounts that Amazon offers customers.

The company's shops differ from traditional bookstores in several ways. Shoppers who are Amazon Prime members are given their customary discounts in the store, while those who are not generally pay higher prices. Books are displayed face-out, with some accompanied by cards featuring Amazon user reviews of the book. The stores also sell Amazon's consumer electronic devices, such as Kindle e-readers and Echo smart speakers.

In addition to the two upcoming California stores, Amazon is also planning to open a location in Manhattan, across the street from the Empire State Building.

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