Amazon Books is opening its doors on Bethesda Row to readers Tuesday.
Paper taped over the windows of the storefront at 7117 Arlington Road on Monday concealed the work that was going on inside to get the roughly 6,000-square-foot space ready for shoppers. This is the second Amazon Books store in the D.C. area, with the first opening in Georgetown in March, and it’s the 16th brick-and-mortar bookstore overall for the online retailer.
“We’re always looking for areas with lots of shoppers, and Bethesda Row fits that target really nicely,” Cameron Janes, vice president of Amazon Books, said by phone Monday.
The store in some ways is a physical manifestation of the website, with shelves carrying the “most-wished-for books” from Amazon.com or titles with more than 10,000 reviews. Another section is filled with the most quotable books, chosen based on an analysis of how many times readers have highlighted passages on their Kindle readers.
There are also some area-specific shelves stocked with books that might appeal to D.C. locals.
All 3,700 titles in the store are either best-sellers, new releases or have online ratings of four or more stars.
Amazon devices are available in the store to test and buy, and the store also offers highly rated games and products created by startup businesses.
“Amazon Books at its core is all about discovery,” Janes said. “We can have millions and millions of books in store online. … Sometimes it’s hard for me to find a great book among all that choice, and what happens when you walk into Amazon Books is we’ve really curated the store around making it really easy and really simple for our customers to find something they’ll think they’ll love.”
Shoppers who are members of Amazon Prime get the lower, online prices for books and other merchandise, while others pay the sticker prices.
The opening of Amazon Books means Bethesda Row will once again have a bookstore, several months after the closure of the Barnes & Noble at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda avenues.
Janes said it’s up to customers to decide if Amazon Books fills the void left by Barnes & Noble but said the store was designed with local shoppers in mind. He added that the bookstore will consider offering a story-time program, depending on the community demand.
The store’s summer hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 pm. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Photos from inside Bethesda Row's Amazon Books store, which will open Tuesday. Credit: Bethany Rodgers.
Bethany Rodgers can be reached at email@example.com.