Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Could Amazon Books fill the void when Barnes and Noble closes at Bethesda Row?

Santana Row, like Bethesda Row an
upscale Federal Realty development,
announces the pending arrival of
Amazon Books on its Instagram account
One of the most intriguing rumors about what will replace Barnes and Noble at Bethesda Row, has been an Amazon store of one kind or another. Amazon Books is the most likely candidate, although Amazon has an even more-hyped store model that is entirely self-serve, with no employees or check-outs.

The possibility that Amazon Books could take over at least part of the Barnes and Noble space just got a bit more credible. That's because Bethesda Row developer Federal Realty has signed a lease with Amazon Books for another one of its upscale developments, Santana Row in San Jose, California.

Reasons Amazon Books would be a good fit? Well, most obviously, it's a bookstore. But it's also a coffee shop, which is one of the main draws at Barnes and Noble currently. Amazon Books also sells Amazon gadgets, not unlike Barnes and Noble's Kindle also-ran, Nook.

What doesn't work about Amazon Books, unless this was an expanded, more-experimental version? Most significantly, size. Amazon Books stores are under 10000 SF; Barnes and Noble's space at Bethesda Row is a comparatively-massive 37500 SF. Perhaps the space could be divided to solve that, with a buzzworthy restaurant taking over a third, and a high-end retailer the rest.

Beyond size, though, is that the Amazon Books selection is not up to Bethesda standards. There's a reason you might find yourself behind David Brooks in the checkout line today - Barnes and Noble simply has more books than Amazon Books currently carries. And the inventory at Amazon Books is driven heavily by popularity and review ratings.

So if your enjoyment in books comes from volumes well off the beaten path, or those more sophisticated than the latest vacation-novel-soon-to-be-a-Ben-Affleck-movie variety, Amazon Books is probably not for you. It sounds more like one of those Waldenbooks-style mall bookstores. In one of the most-educated and enlightened towns in America, Amazon Books would certainly have to up its game in the selection department.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Odd that Dyer did not mention the name of the coffee shop in Barnes & Noble.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Tesla / Niketown

Anonymous said...

Tesla is long overdue.

Roald said...

Replacing Barnes & Noble, the oil place, chocolate store and fitness place with Amazon Books, Tesla, Niketown and a new coffeehouse.

This will be an upgrade!

Roald said...

Fitness place=City Sports
I already forgot the name!

Nike will be much better.

Anonymous said...

I vote for a H&M, or other value focused sort. Bethesda Row has become too expensive, and needs more balance. Dean and Deluca brings yet another expensive brand to Bethesda Row. For those of you who like Nike Store, H&M is about half the price.

Anonymous said...

Who goes to H&M for workout gear? No thanks

I wouldn't mind the space being divided up and part of it being a Tesla showroom, and a restaurant. Not a fan of the Amazon idea, and Dyer, the employee-less concept was delayed by Amazon

Anonymous said...

In which The New York Motherf***ing Times gives a shout-out to Bethesda Magazine:

https://nytimes.com/2017/05/02/realestate/commercial/bethesda-maryland-remake.html

Anonymous said...

The freelancer that wrote that also writes for Bethesda Mag.
Definitely in her interest to promote her employer. Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:32 AM - Miranda Spivack isn't just some random bored local housewife who is "freelancing" because she has nothing better to do.

It's strange that you have this need to shelter Robert Dyer's fragile ego.

Anonymous said...

10:44 AM wow..where'd that come from?
I was just stating a fact, I wasn't criticizing the writer.

Looks like she has written for a lot of the legacy print media in the area (Gazette, Bethesda Mag, Post, etc.)

She needs to update the article, though. With that photo of Tastee, probably would be good to mention Dyer's scoop that it's being sold to Marriott.

Anonymous said...

Hello 10:51, I'm not 10:44, but I'd guess it came from your snark in the 10:32 comment, which you expanded on with your 10:51 post, essentially proving 10:44's point. But that's just my 2 cents

Anonymous said...

12:43 PM What's snarky about mentioning who she has worked for?
Touchy you are.

Anonymous said...

9:00 Get you coffin at #DeadMall.

Anonymous said...

9:52 - #FauxNew whore.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing there are so many aggressive and impolite people on this blog. You people need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:26 PM - Agreed. I'm heading off to Bethesda Magazine, where it is actually possible to have intelligent, respectful conversations about the issues that affect our community.

Anonymous said...

I hope they do. They'd do well. Amazon is crushing everyone. Interesting web successes are now getting into brick and mortar. Bizarre but definitely interesting

Hokie said...

2:33 pm Enjoy reading your glossy Magazine. I can't support a publication that hires people who anonymously post personal attacks against Dyer here.
Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

"Glossy magazine" again.

Yawn...

Anonymous said...

If Amazon books is on just one floor, it should be the top (2nd) floor with the coffee shop - obviously also need some way to access the escalator. The lower floor (basement) isn't desirable, but might be an Off 5th or Nordstrom Rack

Anonymous said...

Niketown is an idiotic idea - wouldn't last 5 years

Anonymous said...

No, they won't. Amazon is opening a huge store in Georgetown.