Google has teamed up with Barnes & Noble to provide same-day delivery of books, toys, and magazines in three markets, offering up fresh competition against Amazon, a chief rival of both companies.
Starting Thursday, Google Shopping Express -- the tech giant's online delivery service -- will start providing same-day shipping out of brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble bookstores for customers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. For the first time, Google employees have been installed in Barnes & Noble stores in those markets to run the service.
"We're thrilled to be early in the process," Jaime Carey, Barnes & Noble's chief merchandising officer, said in an interview Thursday. He added that his company hopes to expand out the partnership with Google to more areas in the future.
The partnership should provide Google more items to offer through Google Shopping Express so it can better compete against Amazon, which also has been pushing into same-day delivery. Amazon on Wednesday announced it was expanding same-day delivery to six more cities, including New York City. Google Shopping Express started last year and now offers same-day delivery services from stores including Toys "R" Us and Walgreens. eBay provides a similar same-day service called eBay Now.
A Google spokesperson said Thursday the company is "excited" to start the partnership with Barnes & Noble, adding it to Google's list of existing retail partners including Target, Staples, and Costco.
The New York Times earlier reported that the Google and Barnes & Noble partnership was starting Thursday. An Amazon representative wasn't immediately available for comment.
Teaming up with Google could be a big benefit for Barnes & Noble. It has struggled to compete against online booksellers such as Amazon and has had to shut down dozens of stores in recent years as more customers shop online. Offering books and other items directly through local storefronts could help speed delivery for Google but also keep more of the bookseller's stores open.
Google Shopping Express costs $4.99 per store order, but a six-month trial membership is currently available for free. Amazon's same-day service costs $5.99 per shipment for Prime members and $8.99 for everyone else.
Barnes & Noble already provides same-day shipping in Manhattan, and Carey said the Google partnership will be added to that service.
"We really see this as an opportunity to connect more customers to their local Barnes & Noble," Carey said.
Update, 8:07 a.m. PT: Adds Google's comment and additional details.