Amazon, the huge Internet retailer, may open 400 bookstores this year. And even if this plan is not going to become a reality anytime soon, it will certainly impact the business of many booksellers.
Amazon’s business success has already negatively impacted huge companies like Barns & Noble or Borders. It looks like book reading refuses to die, and a recent study has showed that when someone isn’t sure what book to buy, going to an old fashioned bookstore and picking a book off the shelves is the best option. Last year Amazon opened a bookstore in Seattle, selling four and five star rated books, just a fraction of what they sell online.
The Seattle retailer is also planning to overtake rival tech giants when it comes to digital assistants that can play an important role in our lives. These days Amazon plans the launch of a smaller, much more portable version of the voice activated tabletop Echo speaker. The device was first sold in November 2014, and since then it has gained quite a bit of popularity. The new device, which may be named Fox, will be able to create shopping lists, can answer questions, play music and can be plugged into an outlet. Fox can tell us weather related info, traffic info and give us Yelp-based restaurant recommendations.
Amazon has recently announced a partnership with Ford Motor. The goal of this partnership is to integrate its Alexa software in the Ford vehicles. This will allow garage owners to open their doors by making use of their voices, for example. Voice activated software seems to be a priority at Amazon, and this may lead to the creation of one or more products that are similar with (but not identical to) the ones Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.
The company wants more and more people to listen to its podcast and audio book service – Audible. Several comedians and public radio voices have been asked to participate into creating original content. The service would be a proper fit for the Fox and Echo devices, which are already seen as the audio versions of Kindle and Kindle Fire HD tablets.
Amazon’s Kindle is also getting an upgrade, allowing the owners to buy books in a much easier way. The home screen will soon have shortcuts for books, and it will offer the possibility to download samples and reading lists from Goodreads. The updates will be made available for 2013 and 2015 Kindle models.
Finally, it looks like Amazon’s drones are going to be used to transport packages over short distances. This way, as a representative has said, orders will be delivered in less than half an hour. The covered distance will be limited to about 10 miles and the weight of the package will not exceed 5 pounds – most of Amazon’s packages don’t exceed five pounds anyway.
In some areas, Amazon will even deliver restaurant orders. Right now they are testing several types of drones, trying to find the best option, which is capable of safely transporting the goods to the clients.
Last year Amazon offered unlimited cloud storage for pictures to all the clients who subscribed to its Prime service. Besides photos, clients can also store videos and various files.