03/12/2013 04:52 GMT | Updated 01/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Waterstones' OWLS Delivery System Takes On Amazon's Fleet Of Drones

Amazon's plan to deliver packages with an implausible fleet of robotic drones has already been super-ceded.

By owls.

Bookseller Waterstones has announced an equally ambitious and very possibly satirical plan to employ "adorable" teams of the nocturnal birds of prey as avian postmen.

The retailer said in a statement:

"We're excited to announce the Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service, a brand new way to receive your favourite books.

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."

Waterstone's website crashed on Monday as details of its adorable plan were released.

It also posted this pretty funny Q&A - again in response to Amazon's rather more serious 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.

Q: Won't this be really expensive?

A: No, it'll only cost you £2.75 per parcel. (Price subject to inflation between now and the as yet undisclosed point in the future when we will launch the service.)

Q: Isn't this how Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds began?

A: The Birds is fiction, this is the real world. Everything will be fine.

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.