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Amazon seeks hedges for shipping costs

A customer uses a Kindle Fire tablet device at the Amazon Books store in Seattle, Washington.
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A customer uses a Kindle Fire tablet device at the Amazon Books store in Seattle, Washington.

Amazon may be about to become a bricks-and-mortar book selling chain. The chief executive of General Growth Properties on Tuesday told his investors that Jeff Bezos' $270 billion internet-retailing giant may open hundreds of stores. That may inspire fear in rival U.S. bookshop owners, but for Amazon it could be more about hedging the cost of shipping goods bought online.

The company spent $5 billion subsidizing shipping last year, and the figure is rising. Amazon isn't commenting, and its plans may be more modest than GGP CEO Sandeep Mathrani hopes. But Amazon did open a bookstore in Seattle in November.