The enemy of my enemy is my friend, especially in the book business. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS) are joining forces to take on Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) on one of the online retailer’s most highly prized services: quick and cheap book delivery.
Barnes & Noble will begin shipping through Google Shopping Express, the search giant’s nascent same-day-delivery service, Thursday in parts of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. While the two companies’ businesses sometimes overlap -- Google sells e-books that compete with Barnes & Noble’s Nook service -- their partnership highlights how fierce the competition over shipping speeds has become in Silicon Valley and beyond.
Amazon is leading the same-day delivery race, on Wednesday announcing an expansion of same-day-delivery service from four cities to 10. Google says it will soon expand its delivery service outside Manhattan, to Brooklyn and Queens. While Amazon Prime members receive same-day delivery for $5.99, the service costs $9.98 for others. Google doesn't charge for members of its same-day-delivery service but charges a flat rate of $5 to others. Amazon charges customers $99 per year to subscribe to its Prime service, which features free two-day shipping on a number of items as well as streaming movies, TV and now music. Subscribers to Google Shopping Express get a six-month trial of the service, and Google hasn't announced how much the membership will cost.
Google Shopping Express uses a fleet of couriers who deliver products during a time window selected by customers, after picking them up from local stores like Target and Costco. The search giant’s approach differs from that of Amazon, which instead relies on its own stock of merchandise, stored in massive warehouses nationwide. A number of retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, are joining the fray. EBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) have also created their own same-day-delivery services.