It's hard enough for independent bookstores to stay afloat among their big box rivals, but now Amazon is upping the hurt with news that it will offer same-day delivery of books.
The online retailer Friday said it is launching a new shipping option, "Local Express Delivery," that will provide same-day service in seven markets: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Cut-off times for same-day service range from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. depending on whether the order is going to the East or West coast. The service will hit Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix in the coming months, Amazon said.
Of course, mom-and-pop bookstores that serve communities outside those metro areas will feel less of an impact, although they still have to contend with giants such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.
"Now, if a customer needs a last-minute present for a birthday or wants a copy of their book club book before the weekend starts, they can order from Amazon instead of the hassle of a last-minute trip to the mall," said Girish Lakshman, vice president of Transportation at Amazon, in a statement.
Now that the chains will face additional pressure to compete with the same-day option, it will be interesting to see if they get on the bandwagon.
In addition to locale limitations, there are some restrictions to getting same-day delivery. Shoppers need to be enrolled in Amazon Prime, the company's $79-a-year program that gives users "all-you-can-eat" fast shipping for certain purchases.