E-commerce giant Amazon is turning a page in Austin with the March 6 opening of an Amazon Books at Domain Northside — the first of its kind in Central Texas.
“As a physical extension of Amazon.com, Amazon Books integrates the benefits of offline and online shopping to help customers discover books and devices they’ll love,” the company said in a release. Located at 11700 Rock Rose Ave. in Domain Northside, this marks the fourteenth location of Amazon Books.
The Domain area is a familiar place for Amazon. In addition to its corporate office, Amazon Books store is a short walk from the Domain's Whole Foods Market location. Seattle-based Amazon bought Austin's Whole Foods last year. On top of that, an office development across from Domain Northside is a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. Austin is also one of 20 finalists for the $5 billion HQ2 project.
At every Amazon Books store, items available for sale are “curated” by Amazon employees from among highly rated, top-selling, or new offerings.
“All the books in our store are presented face out, so they can communicate their own essence," says Amazon. "Under each face-out book is a review card with the Amazon.com customer rating and review — it’s like getting a personal recommendation from a fellow book lover.”
The device section at Amazon Books also offers customers the chance to try out Amazon gadgets like Echo and Kindle.
“The most distinctive feature of Amazon Books lies not in its design or its merchandising or even its technology — the tech seems about on par with what you’d find at a Starbucks — but in its approach to pricing,” according to MIT Technology Review. “There are no price tags on the books, and what customers pay depends on whether or not they’re enrolled in the Amazon Prime loyalty program. Those without a Prime membership pay the list price. Those with Prime pay Amazon’s discounted online price.”