Is Amazon planning physical bookstores? Maybe

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An odd bit of news, as it seems Amazon isn't ruling out a future where it sells books from physical outlets situated all over the United States. 

Rumours were circulating earlier this week that the online leviathan was planning to open up 300-400 stores across the US. If it were true it would heftily reinforce the Seattle, University Village, 'Amazon Books' store which opened in November last year. Not only that, but its impact on other booksellers would be...large. US bookseller Barnes and Noble's shares actually suffered a dive at the merest mention of the plans. 

Then it turned out the plans might not be plans after all. Not yet anyway. The story, sparked by comments from the CEO of a US company specialising in retail property development were quickly addressed. But yet another switchback has emerged, with the Recode website apparently certain that Amazon is planning more stores; and not just ones which sell books. 

Further, Recode suggests that Amazon executive Steve Kessel (launcher of the Kindle) is taking the lead on Amazon's physical manifestation. And if that's true,  It's hard not to be struck by some irony: The man who launched the Kindle being responsible for physical Amazon bookstores. This, after Waterstones stripped Kindles from its own stores last year as part of a plan to boost profits.

It's hard to decipher the thinking behind any such plan. Clearly Amazon thinks it will benefit from physical outlets, but shrinking high streets (at least here in the UK) would seem to counter the notion. It has to be said though, there's been no word from Amazon itself in all of this. So it'll be intriguing to hear some official clarification. 

Regardless, it's certainly a bit of news we didn't think we'd really be writing. After all, "I'm just going to pop into Amazon" sounds so odd, doesn't it.

Doesn't it...?