I have been away from Amazon long enough for any of my “insider” knowledge to be more outside than in. The recent announcement that Amazon is going to open 100 “popup”stores does not surprise me at all, given my feel for how Amazon thinks and operates–based on a mere two years there.
Amazon is a pure capitalist organization. It is going to spin the flywheel and go for the 20/80 rule. In the case of their “real” brick and mortar 20 percent of the time with 20 percent of the books, they will capture 80% of the revenue (note I said revenue, not profit).
Popup stores are temporary. They are seasonal, at best. Not quite brick and mortar. So, in addition to the permanent bookstores (Seattle and a number of other locations), what is Amazon up to?
These are NOT just bookstores, so why mention it here? Because the demise of the bookstore is not just about bookstores. It is about the fall of specialty stores and Amazon is focused on spinning the flywheel, and books are a mere cog in that wheel. These stores will have a LOT of electronic devices such as the echo (which basically does what your phone can do via voice commands, but it is sort of cool and dedicated and connects to your Amazon shopping).
Just because these popup stores are focused on other products, such as Echo and Amazon tablets, doesn’t mean that this is good for Barnes and Nobel. Every Amazon customer that goes Prime, is going to have an incentive to buy their books from Amazon also. Spinning the flywheel.