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In this episode, we talk about Amazon’s brick and mortar bookstores, the future of paper books, and how they affect you as an author.
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Background: Apple Store vs Best Buy
- Best Buy Makes $804 per square foot
- Apple Store Makes $5,506 per square foot
- The average Apple Store makes 3x the average Best Buy despite being much smaller.
- The Amazon Book Store is to B&N what Apple Stores are to Best Buy.
- For some comparison B&N only makes $180 per square foot.
How Amazon bookstores are different:
- A bit bigger than an airport bookstore.
- Packed with people. Same number of people in a B&N but with a tiny fraction of the space.
- 100% focus on book discovery.
- Books face out.
- Reviews facing out
- If you like x you will love y
- Not a 3rd place. No coffee shop, no chairs.
- Lots of books based off of popular blogs.
- The store is primarily for Prime members. (Top 50% of households)
- Barcode scanners for prices
- Low Selection… but the right selection.
- Small enough where we walked through every section.
The whole store is built around machine learning
The books on the shelves are selected by algorithm.
- No bargain bin out front.
- Each store has its own data for its own neighborhood.
Amazon knows a lot about you:
- What books you read and which books you finish on your kindle
- What movies you watch.
- What products you buy
- Where you live.
- What products your neighbors buy (birds of a feather flock together)
- What websites you visit.
- Your GoodReads reviews and books on GoodReads shelves
The Amazon store tracks all of your behavior in store.
- Every time you scan for a price you are giving data to Amazon.
- Wifi blocking paint?
How Machines Learn
What this means for authors:
- Amazon Stores are focused on the short head (for that area)
- Dungeons and Dragons guidebook facing the door on the way in.
- Bad news for indies
- Bad news for midlist authors. Less total selection means mid-list books will get squeezed.
- Harder to do book signings.
- How your book performs on Amazon will drive book sales. To get into a specific bookstore, focus on regions.
- B&N’s days are numbered.
- Good for indie bookstores. How do you compete with a computer? Be superhuman.
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