Amazon develops anti-showrooming software and irony is dead

Amazon grew its book business in large part due to showrooming: ask any bookseller and they'll tell you horror stories of customers flipping through books, looking the title up on Amazon, and buying the book on their phone just before leaving the bookstore empty-handed.

But things have changed over the years. Amazon owns and operates several brick-and-mortar bookstores in cities around the country. They just bought Whole Foods. And so naturally they're getting concerned about showrooming, themselves. Lisa Vaas at Naked Security writes about a new patent from Amazon:

The patent, titled “Physical store online shopping control”, describes a system that would prevent customers from comparing prices in Amazon stores by watching any online activity conducted over its Wi-Fi network, detecting any information of interest and responding by sending the shopper to a completely different web page, or even blocking internet use altogether.

With the help of our friends at Elliott Bay Book Company, we at the Seattle Review of Books were happy to encourage Allison Steiger become the first person in the world to showroom Amazon Books back in 2015. If Amazon has their way, Steiger won't be a trend-setter.

(Related: Chris Sagers at Slate lays out the case for an antitrust suit against Amazon.)