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Waterstones mocks Amazon drone plans with owl-powered delivery system

British book retailer Waterstones has mocked Amazon's plans to deliver packages by drone in 4-5 years with a parody video on its official blog.

The video, which features Waterstones Press Manager John Howells, claims that Waterstones will soon begin delivering books using teams of owls. The "Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service", or OWLS, will be "a new way to bring great books to our readers," according to Howell.

"As booksellers with an innate knowledge of all birdlife, the solution was simple," he claims. "OWLS consists of a fleet of perfectly trained owls, either working individually or as part of an adorable team, will deliver your package within 30 minutes."

"Putting owls into commercial use will take a number of years," Howell adds, "as it takes ages to train owls to do anything. And we only just thought of it this morning."

The video is accompanied by an FAQ.

"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."

The blog goes on to raise some safety concerns about the burgeoning new delivery technique.

"Q: But aren't you worried about the owls developing intelligence and using the knowledge of our home addresses to enact some sort of sky-based revenge? Enslaving us all to deliver their internet orders to their nests?

A: No, the laws of robotics means that this can never happen. The owls will be incapable of harming a human.

Q: But owls aren't robots, they're birds.

A: That's the end of the questions, thank you."

The blog has gained a lot of attention on social media, with many congratulating Waterstones for striking out at their arch-rival Amazon.

Amazon's founder and CEO Jeff Bezos showed off an early version of the planned service, dubbed Amazon PrimeAir, during American broadcast channel CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

"I know this looks like science fiction but it's not," Bezos told Charlie Rose.

Bezos told Rose that he is an "optimist" and hopes that PrimeAir could get off the ground in four to five years. "I don't want anyone to think this is just around the corner," he said.

Waterstones' managing director, James Daunt has previously described Amazon as "a ruthless, money-making devil."