Amazon’s bookshop is reverse-showroomed but the price is high

There’s nothing worse than browsing in a bookstore when someone’s showrooming, usually ostentatiously, by taking pictures of books and buying, or pretending to buy, them online at a lower price and generally wrecking the ambience of the shop.

However, an interesting challenge was flung down by Seattle Review of Books co-founder Paul Constant, who offered a gift certificate to the first person who showroomed Amazon’s new bricks and mortar bookshop which opened in Seattle recently.

Fair enough, after all, Amazon has actively promoted showrooming. The task of showrooming is particularly easy at the Amazon bookshop as all the books are face out for easy phone photography and they even suggest that you could buy online.

The challenge was promptly taken up by Alison Stieger, who tweeted her showrooming escapade with the excellent choice of Alice Hoffman’s new book, The Marriage of Opposites, which she then bought and collected from Seattle indie booksellers Queen Anne Book Company.

All very commendable, we all want indie bookshops to thrive, but the problem is that the book cost $27.99 (plus tax) while Amazon’s current price has the title slashed to just $16.79. I don’t know what the price was when the book was showroomed and, of course, Stieger actually got the book for free as she received a $75 gift certificate for her feat from the Seattle Review of Books.

Interestingly, according to the receipt published on the SROB website, she also bought the fantastic-looking Geronimo Stilton Spacemice No 3: Ice Planet for $6.99, which is the same price as on Amazon. If you’re a Spacemice fan, you can click on the cover shown here to see the selection at Queen Anne Book Company.

That’s the real joy of browsing in a real bookshop, of course — finding unexpected gems and ending up with such an eclectic choice, showrooming ruins that joy.