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Jeff Bezos tells Amazon shareholders that it will open more physical bookstores

TechCrunch TechCrunch 18/05/2016 Catherine Shu

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said during the company’s annual shareholder meeting Tuesday that it wants to open more physical bookstores and add additional services to Amazon Prime.

The e-commerce behemoth has never disclosed the precise amount of subscribers to Amazon Prime, which offers services like free two-day shipping and video/music streaming for a $99 annual fee. According to the Seattle Times, Bezos told shareholders that there are now “tens of millions” of subscribers.

Amazon wants to boost that number by adding enough perks “that if you are not a Prime member, you are being irresponsible,” Bezos said.

TechCrunch has contacted Amazon for more details.

Prime is reportedly getting ready to add private-label food and household items, which means it may be able to cut margins on those products and pass on cost-savings to customers in order to compete with other grocery delivery services.

Amazon’s first physical bookstore opened in Seattle late last year. It already has plans for another one in San Diego.

Bezos said that Amazon is “definitely going to open additional stores,” but it hasn’t yet decided how many. Amazon bookstores might not become as ubiquitous as Barnes and Noble and Borders once were—TechCrunch reported in February that the company has no plans to open a chain, despite a Wall Street Journal article that claimed it would eventually launch as many as 400 locations.

But even a few brick-and-mortar locations would help Amazon gain a footprint in physical retail (which still make up more than 90 percent of total retail sales in the U.S., despite the growth of e-commerce), attract new customers, and collect more data about shopping habits. Other e-commerce businesses that have opened stores for similar reasons include Warby Parker, Birchbox, and Bonobos.

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