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February 28, 2017

Los Angeles Times

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Amazon opens its first East Coast bookstore — in Dedham, Mass.

Online retailer Amazon is opening its fourth brick-and-mortar bookstore, undeterred by critics who accuse the company of trying to put independent booksellers out of business.

The Boston Globe reports that Amazon Books held a preview of its store in Dedham, Mass., on Saturday, drawing crowds of curious readers to the Legacy Place mall. The store, Amazon’s first on the East Coast, officially opens Tuesday.

Amazon Books already has locations in San Diego, Tigard, Ore., and its hometown of Seattle. The company has announced plans to open more stores in Walnut Creek, Calif.; Paramus, N.J.; Lynnfield, Mass.; Chicago; and New York City.

The Amazon stores sell not only books, but consumer electronics manufactured by the company, including Echo speakers and its line of Kindle e-book readers.

Amazon’s existing stores all are located not far from independent bookstores — most notably, its store in Tigard is 10 miles from Powell’s, the large bookseller in downtown Portland, Ore.

Dedham is on Boston’s southwest edge, bounded on the west by Route 95. The Dedham Amazon Books is eight miles from Papercuts J.P. and independent bookstore in Boston.

Independent booksellers have long been hostile to Amazon, blaming the company for decreased sales in small businesses. The online retailer sells books at prices lower than most indie stores are able to offer.

At least one of the customers who showed up to the Dedham store’s preview on Saturday had mixed feelings about the town’s newest bookshop.

Holly Davenport told the Boston Globe that she thought of Amazon’s founder and chief executive as a “Genghis Khan”-type of businessman but admitted that she was considering buying a book at the store anyway.

“I feel terrible,” she said. “I may feel guilty when I go home, and may not be able to read this book.”

By: Michael Schaub

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