Amazon is closing most of its physical stores to double down on Amazon Fresh and WholeFood brick and mortar locations.
Closing 68 stores (Amazon Books, Amazon 4Stars, Amazon PopUps) all over the U.S. may seem a lot. At the scale of Amazon, it's not. Unsurprisingly these stores were large-scale prototypes designed to answer the question: where to verticalize next? And the answer seems to be that unless it's about fresh products, no physical stores are really Amazon-grade profitable.
If you're a book store (and I'm poking a close friend on this that is just about to open one), it's a glass-half-empty, half-full situation. Amazon clearly deems this market too shallow to be with physical stores (big surprise), but this asks what in-store experience Amazon couldn't deliver to attract recurring customers with a profitable average basket?
This "negative" space is the remaining opportunity and the answer is not automation or data.