In response to the recent announcement by Amazon that the internet retailer will attempt to introduce delivery via drones in the next five years, bookseller Waterstones has announced the launch of their own rival service: delivery via owl.
Co-opting Amazon’s PR-extravaganza in a spoof advert for the service, Waterstones’ Press Manager Jon Howells (rendered as 'Jon Owls' in the video) describes how the company is always striving “for new ways to bring great books to our readers”:
“As booksellers, with an innate knowledge of all bird life, the solution was simple: owls. That’s why we’re excited to announce O.W.L.S.: the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service.
“O.W.L.S. consists of a fleet of specially trained owls that, either working individually or as an adorable team, will be able to deliver your package within thirty minutes of you placing your order.”
Riffing on the enthusiastic yet vague tenor of Amazon’s recent announcement, Waterstones’ website outlines how the deliveries will cost just £2.75 per parcel whilst noting that this price is “subject to inflation between now and the as yet undisclosed point in the future when we will launch the service.”
The F.A.Q. on the website also acknowledges the company’s debt to J.K. Rowling in coming up with the idea:
Q. Isn’t this just what they did in Harry Potter?
A: Yes, this is exactly what they did in Harry Potter. You’re asking that as if this is a bad thing.
However, as with Amazon, it’s uncertain when this new delivery system will be implemented. As Howells admits in the video: “Putting O.W.L.S. into commercial use will take a number of years, as it takes ages to train owls to do anything and we only just thought of it this morning.”