We Visited Amazon’s Retail Bookstore and Here’s What We Thought

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Book Lovers!

Do you live in CA, CO, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, OR, TX, WA, or Washington, D.C.? If so, you may be one of the lucky ones to have an Amazon Books retail brick and mortar bookstore located near you – or coming soon (see store locations)!

But is it worth making a special trip to visit an Amazon Books store? We recently had a chance to visit their new bookstore in Austin, TX and here’s what we thought…

1.) Browse thousands of popular book categories.

Although the Amazon Books store I visited is much smaller than a typical Barnes and Noble store, you can still browse thousands of popular books from various categories throughout the store. All book covers face outward, so you can quickly glance titles just by walking around the store. And they have sections that are sorted by fun categories similar to Amazon.com book lists.

Here are just a few categories we found:

2.) All books are rated 4.0 stars or higher.

Only the best of the best! From top-sellers to customer favorites, all books on the Amazon Books shelves have been rated 4.0 stars or higher by Amazon customers.

Throughout the store, you’ll conveniently find an Amazon review card under each book with a helpful customer quote, total number of reviewers, current star rating, and more. So fun!

3.) Prime members get Amazon pricing.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, ALL items in the store are the same prices listed on Amazon.com! So if you need a book in a jiffy, head to an Amazon Books store to get Prime pricing without waiting a couple days for your items to show up in the mail. Score!

If you’re not a member, you’ll pay Amazon’s price for devices OR list price for books and all other items. In other words, if you want to buy a couple books and are not a Prime member, you will essentially find around the same prices at Barnes and Noble.

4.) Conveniently pay using the Amazon App.

Although not required, your browsing experience is much simpler with the Amazon App, so consider downloading it before heading to an Amazon Books brick and mortar store. There are no price tags on items, but you can scan them using the app to quickly get current pricing.

If you don’t have the app, you can also scan books at the Price Checker machines found throughout the store. And, if you prefer, you can make a purchase by using cash or any credit card instead of the App.

5.) Easily search for books in the store.

If you’re on the hunt for a certain book, you can quickly find what you’re looking for by using the Amazon App. Just open the Amazon App, tap the camera icon, and scan the QR code found on signs around the store. Then enter the book name, and you’ll find where that book is located in store.

You can also open the app and navigate to Amazon Books under “Programs & Features.” Select your local store to search product availability and see current Prime pricing.

6.) Kids can explore in the children’s area.

Inside each Amazon Books store there’s an inviting children’s area with tables, chairs, Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets, bins of toys, and easy access to all sorts of children’s books and popular toys.

7.) Test Amazon Devices before buying.

Like trying before buying? At Amazon Books, you can test drive Amazon devices, such as the Echo, Kindle, Fire tablet, and Fire TV before making a purchase. Many of the Echo products are connected to smart home devices, so you can also explore how to voice control your home.

You can also easily explore various books on Kindle readers throughout the store, which is a nice feature if you’ve been contemplating purchasing a Kindle and want to see how it works first.

Overall opinion?

If you’re an avid reader and Amazon Prime member, it’s definitely worth making a trip! It’s great to know that all of the books in the store are highly rated by real people and that you are likely getting the best online price. Plus, if you need a book right away, Prime pricing without waiting a couple days for it to arrive in the mail is a nice feature.

However, if you’re not an Amazon Prime member (ummm, why aren’t you already!?), then it’s likely just about the same as picking up a book at Barnes and Noble or placing your order on Amazon.com.

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off Jesus, running long distance, bargain shopping, warm Texas weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She also loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 27

  1. shellie

    Why would anyone want to go to an Amazon bookstore? Didn’t they cause borders to go under due to people buying books online?

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      According to the chief of Amazon Books, their purpose is mainly about creating a new — and old — way for people to discover great books. It’s definitely an interesting concept!

  2. Kyliejay!

    At first glance I thought it would be great but after reading the post it looks interesting!

  3. Rose

    Wow wish there was one in my area! Love the idea of walking around and picking out books for me and kiddos as well.

  4. Monika

    No thanks. I don’t believe in lessening competition. Amazon has been doing that by running most business out of business. It seems that people don’t see it like they saw it with Walmart. I rather just go to Barnes and Nobles.

    • Melsoca

      I agree! If you’re “that good”, a little competition shouldn’t scare you

      • Monika

        It’s not really competition if Amazon can lower their prices because they really don’t have the same overhead as a regular. Amazon is a problem that people aren’t going to see until they are paying $$ for things that were so cheap in the past. I have been shopping at retail stores more and Amazon less because they are a problem. Do you really know how many companies Amazon owns and how much of the market they have their hands in? It’s a huge issue that needs to be addressed because they are a monopoly, but since it’s different companies they don’t get to be called a monopoly.

        • Jason

          Well said and you are so right! When Amazon puts everyone out of business and prices are sky high EVERYONE will be whining about them!!

    • *Angela-Miles*

      I’ll stick with Barnes and Noble too!! Eveytime I go I always have great experiences when I’m in the store. Barnes and Noble may be alittle higher but the membership for me pays for itself quickly. You get coupons constantly and a discount on every purchase. They even let me combine the 10% and 20%off coupon together. Also if by chance you want to grab a book from the website, the membership gets you free shipping. I frequent the place often because I love reading physical books. And the $25 a year is a no brainer for me 🙂

  5. luna

    Yes I enjoy Barnes and Nobles so I will definitely love this one too!

  6. Christina

    I love Amazon, but they’re getting so big it’s scary!!!!

    • Amy

      I agree!

    • Kyliejay!

      I definitely agree with this

  7. Elaine

    This looks amazing

    To those claiming Amazon ruined Barnes and Noble, you’re ridiculous. B&N are ruining themselves. It’s hard to find anything in the store. It’s hard to find an available employee. Their pricing sucks! If I order online from them it is cheaper. They don’t price match in the store. Why would I buy from them in store and pay an extra $5 for a book that is under $20. It’s stupid.

    • kim

      I agree. I used to love shopping at barnes and noble but now I hate it. I was just there last weekend in a two story B&N and couldn’t find a single person available to help besides the 1 person working the register. He was extremely rude, unfriendly, and unhelpful. The books are waaay over priced and the sale books were completely disorganized and thrown together making it a hassle to look through. My son asked for a book that was $20 in the store, I found it on amazon, Wal-Mart, AND Target for only $9.98. Why would anyone pay double for the same book? That’s absurd. Sorry, not sorry. We left empty handed.

    • Kyliejay!

      I agree. B&N has always been a miserable experience for us.

      • Sarah

        Yes, I agree with the posts above. ^^ I’m not a millionaire so paying an extra $3-10 for a book that is cheaper on Amazon matters. I’m willing to wait two days for it in order to save money. I expect B&N is history in the next couple years.

        • cblayloc

          Why would I buy from them in store and pay an extra $5 for a book that is under $20. It’s stupid….yes!!! SO ridiculous. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked the price up online only to get the store and find out it is at least $5 more. and no price match. With their own store, Stupid.

          • Monika

            You do realize that after they get rid of the competition, their prices won’t be so low anymore. Expect prices for toys to me more expensive this holiday season because ToysRus was the only real competition. Target and Walmart cannot compete to that degree because they don’t have the space that Amazon has,but you saved 3 bucks today. Congrats. I doubt B&N is going anywhere because they every school’s college bookstore.

  8. Lisha

    We have a location in Manhattan. I have gone there, but never purchased anything. While the children’s area at this location (and it may be a result of prime real estate prices = lower square footage) is inviting, itis in close proximity to the adult area. This location also has a cafe.

  9. Carina

    The Manhattan store does not except cash😕 I’ve been told when trying to buy a book.
    I also haven’t seen a kids table there.

  10. Mimi

    We have one in San Diego and love it! It’s great to be able to look around the different sections and see other books we may be interested in. Love the Prime pricing!

  11. California Girl

    We have a small Amazon store here and I popped in a few months ago. The location very much feels like a “buy your books and get out”. I didn’t buy anything nor did I want to linger and browse at all.

    • Sushi

      Visited Walnut Creek’s Amazon Bookstore & felt rushed too. The prices aren’t the only thing I look for when in a bookstore. I like to sample books and hang out. I will be shopping more at Barnes and Noble. Oh, people complaining about their prices should buy a membership & use their coupons.

  12. MCouzens

    So you put brick & mortar bookstores out of business by making it enticing to by books online & then turn around and open brick & mortar bookstores. I don’t know how I feel about that but it isn’t positive.

  13. SquirrelGirl

    The new Barnes and Noble that opened up near me is extremely disappointing. It’s set up like a factory: large open areas, concrete floors, you can see the pipes in the ceiling… NOT warm and inviting. I absolutely hated it. And that’s saying a lot, coming from me. I used to love browsing bookstores, I could easily spend hours in one and I always left with at least one book. I left this Barnes and Noble after 10 minutes and bought nothing. If Amazon’s Bookstore is going back to the old warm-and-cozy style, I’m all for it.

  14. Kimmy

    Apparently they think thst most readers live in sunny California. I guess they forgot about the midwest people that live in the snowy regions that love to cuddle up with a good book by the fireplace. Maybe they just think that most of the country is illiterate. Or maybe they think California is illiterate and they are trying to drop a hint for them to learn to read? I don’t really get it.

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