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Amazon Books sales are, for now, a rounding error

As part of Amazon earnings, the company reveals some details on its young bookstore chain's current sales.

At an Amazon Books store in Manhattan.

Amazon has enjoyed lots of fanfare and curiosity from the openings of its new Amazon Books physical bookstores. But what those locations haven't seemed to bring in quite yet is sales.

As part of its third quarter earnings results, Amazon for the first time reported its physical store sales, mostly to account for its purchase in August of Whole Foods. In one section of its results, the company reported that Whole Foods brought in $1.3 billion in sales for the quarter. Amazon then later noted that all physical stores sales were $1.276 billion (rounded up to $1.3 billion).

During a call with reporters, Amazon executives confirmed that its physical stores sales include both Whole Foods and Amazon Books and that the category was predominantly taken up by Whole Foods.

With all that in mind, it doesn't require complex math to see that Amazon Books sales for now essentially amounted to a rounding error.

Granted, Whole Foods has been around for decades, while Amazon Books opened its first store in 2015. Also, the bookstore chain has just 12 stores, with nine opening this year. Whole Foods has about 460 locations. That means Amazon Books sales should remain overshadowed by Whole Foods for years to come.

Amazon has been known to focus on the long-term and stick with a business it sees has potential to make it money. So, Amazon Books may show more sales growth as the young chain continues to expand. But for the time being, those sales haven't quite yet come through the door.

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