Waterstones spoof Amazon Prime Air with Harry Potter-inspired O.W.L.S. delivery system

By on Monday, December 2, 2013

Bravo, Waterstones.

This morning, Amazon announced Prime Air, a drone delivery system. Of course, the actual implementation of said delivery system is miles away yet (if at all), making it little more than a very well timed – and smart – PR stunt, something the Guardian’s James Ball wrote about at length earlier. It’s Cyber Monday, the biggest day for online sales and Amazon is EVERYWHERE, news-wise.

Well, book retailer Waterstones has announced it’s own delivery system. O.W.L.S – the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service.

waterstones owls

Calling it ‘a brand new way to receive your favourite books’, Waterstones explain in this blog that 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.

Here’s Press Manager Jon Owls (natch) introducing the O.W.L.S. project.


The spoof does a great job of highlighting the holes in Amazon’s Prime stunt, even saying: ‘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.’

The FAQs (scroll down to the bottom of this page) are brilliant, including corkers such as:

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.


Q: Will we one day see a fleet of Waterstones’ owls in the sky?

A: Yes! And it’s going to be amazing.

The speed at which Waterstones has got this done and out there is incredibly impressive – much like O.W.L.S. will be, I’d imagine.

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