The inside of an Amazon Books store at University Village in Seattle — Courtesy: Amazon
By Joshua Burd
Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstore in New Jersey is coming to one of the state’s busiest and best-known retail destinations — Garden State Plaza in Paramus.
The e-commerce giant plans to debut the store at some point this year, although an exact timeline and details about the size of the store were not available Thursday. The Garden State location is one of five that are listed as “coming soon” on Amazon’s website, a group that also includes Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
“We are excited to be bringing Amazon Books to Garden State Plaza in 2017, and we are currently hiring store managers and associates,” company spokeswoman Deborah Bass said in an email to Real Estate NJ. “Stay tuned for additional details down the road.”
The company, which has transformed New Jersey’s industrial market with its ever-growing footprint of fulfillment centers, opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in 2015 in its home city of Seattle. Since then, it has added locations in San Diego and Portland, as sales of physical books have risen in recent years.
Amazon’s planned store in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center will be 4,000 square feet, according to The Wall Street Journal. Its Seattle store is 7,500 square feet.
The expansion plans come amid major struggles for some of the most iconic brands in retail. Macy’s and Sears are closing dozens of its large department stores nationwide, including several in New Jersey, and the growth of Amazon has come at the expense of big bookstore chains such as Borders.
The company’s website describes Amazon Books as “a physical extension of Amazon.com,” integrating the benefits of online and in-store shopping. The retailer stocks its shelves based on Amazon.com customer ratings, preorders, sales and other factors.
“We place books face-out on the shelves, so each can communicate its own essence,” the description reads. “Under each book is a review card with the Amazon.com customer rating and a review. Most have been rated 4 stars or above and many are award winners.”
The website also describes the stores as a place where its electronics, such as Echo, Kindle and Fire products, “are available to test drive and buy.”
Amazon’s move into the New Jersey retail space comes amid more expansion in the industrial sector. The company said Thursday that it plans to create additional fulfillment centers in the state beyond the seven it already has, coinciding with the creation of another 2,500 jobs in New Jersey.