Amazon will open brick-and-mortar bookstores — its 14th and 15th — in Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, continuing its march into the world of physical retailing.
Publishers Weekly reports that the stores are scheduled to open next year and will be Amazon’s first in the District of Columbia and in Texas.
The company previously announced plans to open two more stores in California, in addition to the San Diego and San Jose locations currently open. The two new California bookstores, in Los Angeles and Walnut Creek, are scheduled to open this year.
Amazon has been heavily criticized by proprietors and patrons of independent bookstores, who blame the company for driving neighborhood retailers out of business with their steep discounts and inexpensive delivery fees.
Both Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, are home to popular independent bookstores. Amazon’s planned location in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood will be seven miles from East City Bookshop, four miles from the beloved Politics and Prose and just three blocks from Bridge Street Books.
The Amazon store in Austin’s tony Domain Northside shopping center will be 12 miles from BookPeople, the 47-year-old indie downtown, and 10 miles from Malvern Books, a small bookstore near the University of Texas. The Domain is already home to one of Amazon’s corporate offices.
Amazon first entered the brick-and-mortar business in 2015 with a bookstore in the company’s hometown of Seattle. Its stores are unlike traditional retailers in a number of ways: books are displayed face-out, limiting the number that each location can stock, and are sometimes accompanied by reviews from users of the Amazon website.
Members of Amazon Prime still get discounted prices in the physical stores, which also sell the company’s consumer electronic devices, such as Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers.