HolidayBuyer's Guide

No, Amazon probably isn't opening hundreds of bookstores

The mall executive who first ignited the rumor on a conference call with investors is now walking it back.

The man behind that wild Amazon bookstore rumor will need to take his time pulling his foot out of his mouth.

Amazon did open a bookstore in Seattle last year, but that doesn't necessarily mean we'll soon see oodles of them.

Photo by Alex Garland/Demotix/Corbis

You might have heard that Amazon is building as many as 400 physical bookstores. Turns out the original source of that news, General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani, is walking back his comments in public fashion.

General Growth Properties, a Chicago-based company that operates malls across the nation, issued a statement Wednesday clarifying that Mathrani's proclamation that Amazon would build hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores "was not intended to represent Amazon's plans."

Oops.

Mathrani's comments Tuesday set off a wave of stories highlighting the irony of Amazon potentially getting into the business that it's responsible for pretty much killing off. After all, it popularized the idea of ordering everyday household items online. Now you're more likely to buy a book (or toilet paper, video games or anything, really) on your computer or phone than at an actual store.

It's not like an Amazon store is unheard of. The world's largest online retailer does operate a single physical bookstore, in its hometown of Seattle. It may open up more bookshops, as well as other types of stores, according to Recode. LinkedIn lists Amazon job listings for bookstore staff in La Jolla, California.

But that's a far cry from the ambitious plans Mathrani hinted at.

The executive made the comments on his company's quarterly earnings call on Tuesday. The news was initially picked up by The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon declined to comment. Not that it really needs to.

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