Starting today, consumers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area can purchase books from local Barnes & Noble stores and receive their purchases in a matter of hours with Google Shopping Express, The New York Times reports.
The new venture between Barnes & Noble and Google aims to compete not only with Amazon’s same-day shipping service, which expanded this week to six additional major cities including New York City and Washington D.C., but also with the company’s so-called stranglehold on the book business.
Barnes & Noble chief executive, Michael P. Huseby tells the Times that the new arrangement is a test that could increase the company’s online reach and improve sales at bricks-and-mortar stores. In recent years, the bookstore has closed many locations and struggled against popular online book dealers like Amazon.
The partnership could prove fruitful for Google, as well. The internet company’s same-day shipping service, which began last year, hasn’t quite been the competitor for Amazon that many had thought it would be, the Times reports.
The addition of Barnes & Noble, the 19th company to enter partnership with Google Shopping Express, comes at an opportune time for Google, as Amazon is currently engaged in a standoff with several book publishers over e-book pricing.
“Many of our shoppers have told us that when they read a review of a book or get a recommendation from a friend, they want a really easy way to buy that book and start reading it tonight,” Tom Fallows, director of product for Google Shopping Express, tells the Times. “We think it’s a natural fit to create a great experience connecting shoppers with their town’s Barnes & Noble.”
Google Shopping Express employs a fleet of couriers to collect purchases from local stores and deliver them to consumers within a three- to four-hour window. The expedited shipping comes free for subscribers to Google Shopping Express (although, Google has yet to announce what the fee to subscribe is) and is $4.99 per delivery, per store for other consumers.
Other Google Shopping Express partner stores, depending on location, include Costco, Guitar Center, L’Occitane, Smart & Final, Staples, Target, Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us, Walgreens, Babies“R”Us, Costco, Fairway Market, L’Occitane, Staples, Target, and Walgreens.
Google and Barnes & Noble Unite to Take On Amazon [The New York Times]