Amazon Improves Parental Leave, Opens Physical Bookstore

Amazon Improves Parental Leave, Opens Physical Bookstore
Amazon has made a few changes recently that show the company will do what it takes to remain a leader in retail — online or off.

Amazon is finally falling in line. The company is following many of the big names in tech by revamping its parental leave policies.

The New York Times says Amazon employees will get far more time off for maternal and paternal leave — 20 weeks and six weeks, respectively. The change also comes with a few other leave-related benefits, including a "flexible return-to-work program."

Unsurprisingly, many are linking this perceived change in heart to the disparaging report in The New York Times about Amazon's corporate culture. 

Wired's headline, for example, reads, "Amazon's new parental leave policy is good — and good P.R."

The article goes on to say, "It will need to keep shoppers (and future prospective hires) happy, and it certainly doesn't hurt if they feel good about how the company seems to treat new parents."

Allegedly scrubbing its public image isn't all the company's been up to. It's also launching a bookstore in Seattle's University Village. Yes, a physical bookstore, and no, you're not the only one raising your eyebrows.

It's certainly peculiar for the quintessential online retailer to open a store IRL, but here we are. Amazon says the books in its store are the best of the best: "[They're] selected based on customer ratings, pre-orders, sales, popularity on Goodreads, and our curators' assessments."

But there's another, arguably more interesting angle here. Amazon's taking a page from Apple's playbook and setting up an area for customers to try out Amazon's various devices. The press release says, "Products across our Kindle, Echo, Fire TV, and Fire Tablet series are available for you to explore, and Amazon device experts will be on hand."

Being able to try out Amazon's growing collection of devices may sway a book-buying customer to walk out of the store with an Amazon Fire Tablet in hand. We see what you did there, Amazon.

This video includes images from Getty Images and Amazon.