There will be some nervous faces in Amazon’s headquarters as Google today partners with rival booksellers Barnes & Noble to extend the Google Shopping Express service to books, reveals the New York Times.
Starting on Thursday, book buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express, Google’s fledgling online shopping and delivery service …
While Google Shopping Express is a relatively low-key service operating in limited areas at present, it was reported last month that the company is investing half a billion dollars in the service as it plans to roll it out nationally.
Barnes & Noble CEO was downplaying the launch, describing it as “a test,” but it’s clear that the company needs to adapt in order to survive, the NYT reporting that it has closed 63 stores in the past five years while its Nook business declined 22 percent year-on-year.
Google said that the move was a logical one.
“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, said by email. “We think it’s a natural fit to create a great experience connecting shoppers with their town’s Barnes & Noble.”
The move comes at a dangerous time for Amazon, when both book purchasers and authors alike have been frustrated by the company’s failure to process orders for Hachette books, as a negotiating tactic. Google is sweetening the deal for consumers by undercutting Amazon’s same-day delivery fee of $5.99 for Prime members and $9.98 for everyone else with a flat fee of $4.99.
Membership of Google Shopping Express is free for the first six months; pricing beyond that has not yet been announced.