Early this week, Borders announced a new version of its website on which users could (sometimes) employ Google Books to preview a novel. Now, the two organizations are building on that relationship, as would-be Borders shoppers should be able use Google Product Search to determine whether a local store has a given piece of merchandise in stock.
Lauren Indvik reported this afternoon, "Beginning Monday, shoppers will be able to use Google’s Local Availability feature to locate books and other products at their local Borders, as well as look up how many items are in stock, prices and store directions . . ."
Then here’s a key point: Google’s "Local availability" tool only became available four days ago, and Indvik stated that this is "a feature no other book retailer offers yet."
So, at least on a temporary basis, Google seems to have given Borders one advantage over its competitors, and as we head into the holiday shopping season – when some people are making lots of real-world shopping trips and are afraid to trust delivery schedules – it could be an important one.
It should be interesting to see if the two companies pair up in any other ways in the future.
Finally, on a slightly different subject, Indvik reported, "Borders has also announced a partnership with Meetup to promote its book signings and other store events."