A Tale of Two Cities: Amazon opens a bookstore while Indiebound adds a ‘Buy Now’ button

amazon booksPhoto: Sam Machkovech

Here comes the next tremor in the book universe.

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online bookseller, has opened it’s first physical bookshop!

Amazon Books has opened in Seattle’s University District just a few miles from Amazon headquarters.

It’s 5,000 square feet with a majority of the space dedicated to the almighty book. By combining new display tactics (all books are face out!),  a largely crowdsourced inventory, and a seamless ebook purchase option Amazon Books is open for business.

After all the years Amazon was paving the way to sell books online, completely upending the bookselling and publishing fields in the process,  they are now looking at perhaps becoming the model bookshop for the 21st century. 

I know the mere utterance of that possibility is considered sacrilege by many but I don’t think Amazon Books is going the way of the Fire phone.

As recent data has shown – the digital book revolution has stalled and might be settling into its new role alongside, instead of in place of, the printed word.

Amazon already sells the most print and ebooks online so what will stop them from doing this in the physical world?

Alyssa Boggs, executive assistant at Amazon, works inside of Amazon Books, the company's first brick-and-mortar store, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Amazon Books will open tomorrow Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 in Seattle's University District.Photo: Seattle Times

amazon books top 100Photo: Sam Machkovech

And then there is Indiebound, the marketing and branding offering for independent booksellers,  courtesy of the American Booksellers Association (ABA).


indieboundA recent blog post states that the Indiebound has begun a test “designed to increase traffic to member stores — and to their e-commerce websites — by improving the online shopping experience for an initial purchase on IndieBound.org”

To do this – a ‘Buy Now’ button has been added to the product page so one can now buy a book right there on the webpage they’re at!

Yes, that’s right a ‘Buy Now’ button. 

While Amazon was patenting One-Click Shopping Indie Bound was perfecting the 5-click and out approach. “Very few customers who arrive at IndieBound.org take the extra steps necessary on the site to find an IndieCommerce website, and, as a result, they are leaving the community of independent bookstores empty-handed,” – says ABA CEO Oren Teicher

Instead of trying to offer e-commerce options to their member sites the time has come for them to be the e-commerce option for their members. Of course, member stores should still  have their own web presence with e-commerce functionality but Indiebound has to become the go-to site for those of us who would like to support the independent bookshop community.

–  See a book

– Click ‘Buy Now’ button

– Checkout

– From a pop up menu choose from the independent bookshops nearest you (or pick other and type in your favorite)

– The proceeds of the sale go to that bookshop! 

Simple as that. 

Now with Amazon officially encroaching on the brick and mortar universe it is imperative that the response be swift and strong.

The window is almost closed.

The bottom line; however, is that with the advent of Amazon Books there will be more bookstores and with that more access to books for the community. Forget purchasing anything,  just having more book spots enriches everything around it.

Amazon opens first brick-and-mortar bookstore — at U Village – Seattle Times

Inside Amazon’s new brick and mortar store where books don’t have prices, online customers drive selection – Puget Sound Business Journal

Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar store: One big ad for the Amazon app –  ars technica

ABA Tests ‘Buy Now’ Button to Up Sales Through IndieBound – Publisher’s Weekly

Short stories for the masses! French city introduces short story vending machine

short story dispenser

The French city of Grenoble has recently unleashed eight short story dispensers across the city to help people with a little time on their hands stay away from their smartphone and have a little print experience.

The dispensers are the brainchild of the the publisher Short Édition and the mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle and offer what Short Édition co-founder Christophe Sibieude says is “good quality popular literature to occupy these little unproductive moments.”

The length of the story can be catered to the amount of time you got to kill, from 1-5 minutes, and best of all it’s all free!

Short Edition


French City Introduces ‘Short Story Dispensers’ In Public Areas | Konbini

French city installing free short story dispensers | CBC books

(Top photo: AFP)

Digital Treat: Thanks to Cambridge University we can now see inside the world’s first multicolored printed book


The book is called Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu, ‘Manual of Calligraphy and Painting’ and was first published in 1633 in Nanjing. The book is comprised of eight categories – birds, plums, orchids, bamboos, fruit, stones, ink drawings (round fans) and miscellany – and is illustrated by 50 different artists and calligraphers.

It is the earliest known example of multicolor printing in the world:

printed by the technique of polychrome xylography known asdouban invented and perfected by Hu Zhengyan 胡正言 (1584-1674). The method involves the use of multiple printing blocks which successively apply different coloured inks to the paper to reproduce the effect of watercolour painting

For years one of the earliest complete sets of the book has lived at the Cambridge University Library.  Deemed to fragile to handle the book never saw the light of day and was off limits to human hands. 

Now, thanks to the digital revolution, the work is available for all to see






cambridge u multicolor

cambridge u multicolor 2

More: Too Fragile to Open, World’s Oldest Multicolor Printed Book Is Digitized | Hyperallergic