In 2015, when Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore, there was a lot of speculation about what the company was really up to. Were the stores designed to sign up new Prime subscribers? Were they hubs for the company’s expanding same-day delivery operation? Could they be stations for the company’s budding drone fleet? Or perhaps these stores were just what they appeared to be: Amazon’s first step to replace the bookstores it had driven out of business.
By the end of 2017,