Amazon Books has opened its second Bay Area location in Walnut Creek today at 1259 Broadway Plaza, complete with a coffee shop serving Berkeley-based Peet’s Coffee. It’s the fourth location of the internet behemoth’s brick-and-mortar bookstores to offer coffee, and the thirteenth location overall — regardless, the company still considers these stores “experimental.”
“Coffee and books go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Jennifer Cast, VP of Amazon Books, told Retailwire. “Our goal is to have very high quality coffee and to see if people enjoy a coffee shop on its own and whether people enjoy having a cup of coffee and browsing a book store.”
Of the four shops offering coffee, New York and Chicago’s offer Stumptown Coffee (acquired by Peet’s in 2015), while Boston and Walnut Creek offer Peet’s. “It’s great to have a presence in the Amazon Books based in our backyard, given we’re born and bred in Berkeley in 1966,” said Peet’s representative Elizabeth Ricardo via email.
And, not all Amazon Books stores will offer coffee. Cast said that the decision to include a coffee shop depends on the location and size of the store; some are inside malls or plazas that already have coffee shops, or can’t spare the extra space. In Walnut Creek, the coffee shop is more of a kiosk with a seating area, much like the coffee shops found in the Barnes and Noble stores of yore.
According to Ricardo, the coffee company will include their own “innovations” at Amazon’s stores, including Nitro coffee, and bottled cold brew. There’ll also be the regular selection of coffee drinks, with “locally sourced artisanal baked goods.” As for the bookstore itself, innovations include displaying books with their covers facing out, accompanied by review cards. All are either bestsellers on Amazon.com, or rated four stars and above by customers, with prices identical to the site.
The continued expansion of Amazon into the retail books (and cafe) market follows its purchase Whole Foods for $13.7 billion dollars. Following an initial price slashing stunt, the the previously discounted products’ prices seem to be creeping back up, which isn’t great for the company’s reputation as a “market disruptor,” whether it’s groceries, books, or otherwise.
The store and its cafe are now open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Amazon’s Second Bay Area Store Will Include a Café [ESF]
- Does Amazon Books Need Coffee? [Retailwire]