Last month, an off-the-cuff remark by a giant property manager triggered curiosity and panic among bookstore owners. Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties, casually mentioned that Amazon planned to open hundreds of retail locations. "You've got Amazon opening bricks and mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores," he said in an earnings call.
Mathrani later walked back from that remark, saying that his comment "was not intended to represent Amazon's plans." Amazon itself has declined to comment. But those who have watched the company closely over the years say there are some intriguing strategic reasons why Amazon might want to open physical retail locations. Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, offers Bob a fewtheories about Amazon's long-term plans for bookstores.
BROOKE: This is On the Media, I’m Brooke Gladstone.
BOB: And I’m Bob Garfield. Last month, an off-the-cuff remark by a giant property manager triggered some panic among bookstore owners. The tidbit, from Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of General Growth Properties: that Amazon was going analog.
CLIP: "You've got Amazon opening bricks and mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores."
BOB: Wait..what? The company that revolutionized retailing by selling books online was now going into the very business it devastated? Amazon has not commented, but in November it did open physical bookstore in Seattle, its base of operations.