Amazon's third bookstore goes to bookish Oregon


SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon is wading into one of the nation's most bookish metro areas for the opening of its third brick-and-mortar bookstore. The online giant announced Friday it will open a store just outside of Portland, Oregon this fall.
The store will be in Tigard, Ore. at the upscale Washington Square mall. That fits the pattern of Amazon's first bookstore, in Seattle's University Village mall and its second, in San Diego's Westfield UTC mall.
Amazon's Deborah Bass said the Seattle company was excited to be opening its third bookstore and is currently hiring store managers and associates for it.
John Mutter, editor of Shelf Awareness, a bookseller's newsletter, said he predicts that over next few years Amazon will build 12 to 18 such stores.
The placement of the Oregon store differs in one way from the other two in that it is not near a large university or college, he noted. However it is home to an Apple store, as are the malls that hold Amazon's other two bookstores.
It's been noted that in the Seattle store, Amazon's array of electronic devices is given prominent placement.
Mutter called it "an electronics store that sells books! It has a very misleading name," he said.  
Portland is home to a thriving community of booksellers, including one of the region's most beloved, Powell's Books. 
Often named as a must-see in the area, the original downtown store, Powell's City of Books, opened in 1971. It now has five stores throughout the area and more than two million new and used volumes for sale. 
Powell's CEO Miriam Sontz said it's no surprise that Amazon chose the Portland area.
"When asked why he robbed banks, Willy Sutton reportedly replied 'because that's where the money is.' I am certain that Amazon has the data to show that opening a store in the Portland area will be financially beneficial to the company," she said.
The announcement is in a way an acknowledgment by the nation's largest online retailer that bookstores are something special that can't be replicated online.
"The serendipity of walking down an aisle, the sense of community that comes from browsing with other book lovers, and the joy of being handed a recommended book by a human being can't be replaced by a search engine," she said.
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