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Amazon plans chain of bookstores, says mall company CEO

The CEO of mall owner General Growth Properties said Amazon is preparing to expand with 300 to 400 stores.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Feb. 3, 2016 at 6:56 AM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Internet retailer Amazon, stocking millions of book titles online, will develop a chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores, a mall executive said.

After opening a single bookstore last year in a Seattle mall Amazon's "goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores," Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, said in a conference call Tuesday. He did not identify the source of his information.

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Although it could take years to choose locations, obtain mall leases and hire personnel, Amazon, which sells books online with a massive inventory, could compete with Barnes & Noble and its 640 locations, and Book-A-Million Inc., which has 255 locations. Competitor Borders had 511 stores at its peak, before the company liquidated in 2011.

Amazon's current and only physical store stocks about 5,000 titles and also sells Amazon's Kindle and Fire devices with inventory priced the same as on its website.

Independent bookstores across the United States report growth, indicating many readers are reluctant to forgo browsing shelves to find books to purchase.

"There are all kinds of studies that show the best way to find things when you don't know what you're looking for is an old-fashioned bookstore," John Mutter, publisher of a newsletter for librarians and bookstores, told The New York Times. "I think that's a major part of what Amazon is trying to do with this bookstore in Seattle."

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