One reason for Amazon opening their own bookstore is because of the resurgence of the physical book. I own a Kindle Fire, and I love it, but I still enjoy physical books too. There is something tangible and, in a way, even more enjoyable about holding a hard or paperback book in your hands and the art on the front cover is even more dynamic when it's not shown on a screen. This sudden demand for printed books has led to Waterstones stopping sales of Kindles in order to dedicate more space to printed books. Unsurprisingly, Waterstones is unimpressed by Amazon's new venture.
What is more intriguing about Amazon Books is the way the books will be chosen and displayed. Amazon will stock 6000 books based on reviews and data that Amazon holds itself. These titles will also be forward-facing, unlike in other bookstores. This may be more visually appealing, but there will be less space on the shelves for other books. As a result, Amazon will only be stocking titles rated four stars and above. It is interesting that Amazon is choosing its selection based on reviews, as the company announced it would be clamping down on fake reviewers, though with so many customers choosing their next book based on theses, it could yet prove to be the right move for Amazon.
Only time will tell whether this 'leap of faith' by Amazon will be successful or not. What is becoming clearer is that the printed book is far from obsolete, even in an era where we spend almost every waking hour in front of a screen. And that actually makes me glad.