Amazon Just Made 2 Surprising Moves

Expanded parental leave and a shiny new Seattle bookstore
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2015 9:50 AM CST
Amazon Just Made 2 Surprising Moves
In this Oct. 18, 2010, file photo, an package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

New moms and dads at Amazon have a new perk: six weeks of fully paid leave, CNNMoney reports. Birth mothers will get an additional four weeks before their due date, plus 10 weeks after the birth, for 20 weeks' total paid leave. Plus, employees can share any unused portion of their six-week paid leave with partners who don't work for Amazon. The company is also debuting an eight-week transition period that lets new birth moms and primary caregivers ease back into work using flextime. Bloomberg notes the new benefits count for births or adoptions after Oct. 1. When asked by the New York Times if these new perks are a response to the company's scathing back-and-forth with the paper, a rep simply pointed to a line in its announcement that said: "We review our benefit programs annually and began considering our leave policies in early 2015."

Even more surprising, however, is the company's second bit of news: the opening Tuesday of a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle's University Village mall, the Seattle Times reports. Although local booksellers are meeting this news "with some befuddlement," notes the New York Times—why would a successful online retailer take on high overhead?—Amazon Books is different from traditional bookstores in a couple of important ways. First, patrons will see each book displayed facing outward, with a customer review and rating below it, per the Seattle Times. "We felt sorry for the books that were spine out," VP of Amazon Books Jennifer Cast tells the paper. And there's another huge advantage the store wields: the "troves of data it generates from shopping patterns on its website" that it can use to display only the books it thinks will appeal to local shoppers, cutting down on unsold inventory, the Seattle Times notes. "It's data with heart," Cast says. (Amazon doesn't have to worry about the "Netflix of Books" anymore.)

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