Amazon is planning to open a bookstore in a Century City mall, its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Los Angeles.
The online retailer, credited with causing a crisis in the physical bookselling industry, has opened five brick-and-mortar bookstores in the last 18 months and has announced plans for seven more.
According to permits filed last week, Amazon Books will be moving into a 5,227-square-foot space in Westfield Century City. The upscale mall, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Century Park West, is in the midst of a $1-billion modernization begun in 2015 that is expanding it to more than 1.3 million square feet and adding more shops and restaurants.
Amazon's online business disrupted the brick-and-mortar bookselling industry. With Amazon's rise, many small independent bookstores across the country saw steep declines in sales. Many stores closed, and Borders, one of two national chains, went bankrupt, shuttering hundreds of bookstores and leaving many communities without a bookstore — but if they had the Internet, they had Amazon.com.
So it came as a surprise when Amazon opened a brick-and-mortar bookstore of its own — the first was in 2015 in Seattle. The company has since expanded; Amazon Books operates six physical bookstores, in San Diego, Chicago, Seattle, Tigard, Ore. and two towns in Massachusetts, Dedham and Lynnfield.
The company has announced plans to open additional Amazon Books stores in Walnut Creek, Calif., Bellevue, Wash., and Paramus, N.J., as well as two locations in Manhattan.
The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that Amazon had been "poking around" Los Angeles in recent months, "eyeing locations including Old Pasadena and Melrose Avenue."
Amazon Books stores are different from traditional bookstores in a number of ways. The Record newspaper of Northern New Jersey — where a future Amazon Books will be located — visited the Dedham store. It does not take cash or have price tags — instead, customers were encouraged to download the Amazon shopping app and scan merchandise with it.
Amazon Prime members will be given their discount in the stores, just like online, while those who do not pay for Amazon's membership service will pay 20%-30% more. In addition to books, the store sells Amazon's electronic devices, including the Kindle, Fire TV and the Echo.
The opening date for Amazon Books in Century City is slated for later this year, although it does not yet appear on Amazon's official list of its bookstores. "We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to Westfield Century City in 2017, and we are currently hiring store managers and associates," Amazon confirmed via email.
2:15 p.m. May 22: This article was updated with a statement from Amazon.