This weekend I decided to visit the new Amazon Books location in Scottsdale, Arizona. This location opened November 19th of this year, just in time for the holiday season. I joined a group of friends to visit this location for the first time on Saturday. It is quite a ways from where I live and the suspenseful drive had me on the edge of my seat.
When I looked at the photos online for the store it was easy to see that it was not going to be very large. This thought was only reinforced when we arrived. It was cramped and had a very overwhelming first impression. Aside from the confusing layout there are also devices and accessories for home and work. While the walls of the store are lined more or less with books, they also have a variety of small kitchen appliances, board/card games, toys, and electronics. It seemed more like a little department store (minus the clearly labeled sections) than a bookstore. Weaving between displays and navigating single person walkways were irritating and waned on my initial excitement.
The addition of better/larger labels on end caps and walls would have been a great addition. Instead, after we had been in the store for a few I asked my friend what the other end of the store had to offer instead of having an initial idea or a sign to read. Toys, children’s books, and a few electronics were in the back and since that wasn’t on our shopping list we didn’t spend much time in that area.
I asked an employee what the store had to offer us with it’s book selection and she let us know that newly released, top sellers, and 4-star books were stocked which is also what Amazon has advertised. We noted that there was a small section that contained Scottsdale’s favorite books, which was a nice touch and made the store more personable for Scottsdale locals.
Unfortunately, the lack of order and user friendly labels just kept coming back to haunt us. In the photo above you can see that they did use genre labels however, the only indicators you were browsing a different genre were in the style of little black binder-like stoppers. It was honestly aggravating searching for books we had on our lists and in the end some weren’t even in the store.
The books we didn’t find here will just have to be bought at another bookstore. Out of our group of six, only two of us were able to find books that looked interesting or ones that we had come looking for.
One experience I did not have any complaints about was the checkout process. It was really smooth and being a Prime Member has its perks. Bought were, four books and my boyfriend’s addition of two mini Nerf guns. My order total was $64.47 and after having my prime account barcode scanned there was a Prime savings of $18.62 (22%).
I was even able to choose the card making the payment through my Amazon account not even needing to pull out my card for the purchase. My friend making her purchase did not have a Prime Membership and I was able to let her use my barcode to scan for the savings then physically use her card for her purchase. This was all convenient and made for a quick and easy checkout.
The savings are really nice and definitely worth having a Prime Membership. In comparison, Amazon did have cheaper prices for their books than Barnes and Noble would have. And that is without including the discount at the end.
I wanted to provide the books and their prices, plus the price it would have been at Barnes and Noble. (Prices are before Prime discount)
Barnes and Noble- $13.46
Barnes and Noble- $15.30
Barnes and Noble- $14.40
Barnes and Noble- $17.09
While the selection left much to be desired, I found the staff and bright atmosphere welcoming. And if you are in the market for new releases and popular reads then this will be a great option for you. Knowing Amazon, they will likely keep up with the newest releases and top picks from the website. With their friendly and helpful staff you shouldn’t have a hard time navigating the new store.
The lack of books was something that my friends and I immediately noticed and it made us forget that this is infact a bookstore. We spent around an hour and a half in the store and did not have much to show for it.
The layout and displays are something that should be worked on and due to that, navigation was probably the reason for the amount of time spent in the store. The single person isles were something that took from the experience especially since the baskets that are provided by the store take up so much room.
For the fifty mile round trip drive I find myself confident that I won’t be visiting again anytime soon. I would rather just purchase books on their website instead of dealing with the traffic.
When leaving they have a rate your experience tool and I stand by my original rating of a 3. Maybe with improvement and listening to customer feedback they may rethink their store. If so, then I would be happy to give them another try. Maybe even using a second floor for the electronics, toys, and gadgets.
Let me know your thoughts! Have you visited an Amazon Books near you? Was it the size of a Home Depot? Did it have elbow room? I’m dying to know so leave a comment below!
Until next time!