Germán Poo-Caamaño/Flickr

The extremely local, pedal-powered service is meant to “save the Austrian book trade from destruction by big corporations.”

For book lovers who loathe online shopping—or just want to support local businesses rather than a certain conglomerate with a jungle-themed name—there’s an Austrian start-up that offers same-day deliveries via bicycle.

Granted, in its trial form it is an extremely small operation. Lobu, as it’s called, was launched by two high-school students in Vienna, one a self-described Kafka fan and the other a connoisseur of the kind of wisdom only available from erudite, wizened booksellers. The process is simple: Send over a text message with your desired tome (title or ISBN), and one of the students will purchase it from a nearby bookstore and pedal it furiously to your door. If the book’s not available, it will typically be delivered in a day or two.

Lobu/Facebook

Lobu’s creators write that they want to “save the Austrian book trade from destruction by big corporations” such as Amazon, which dominates the country’s online book-ordering industry. The free service is now only available in Vienna’s Währing district, but its founders hope to expand it across the city and eventually charge 2 euros to use it. They plan on keeping costs low by building a network of short-distance couriering among all of Vienna’s bookshops.

It’s an ambitious goal, and whether it succeeds will be interesting to watch. While Lobu is built around boosting the city’s dealers, one could argue it has other benefits. There’s cutting down on packaging waste, for instance, as well as minimizing the carbon emissions and traffic linked to online deliveries.

H/t Urbanshit

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  2. a photo of a BYD-built electric bus.
    Transportation

    A Car-Centric City Makes a Bid for a Better Bus System

    Indianapolis is set to unveil a potentially transformative all-electric bus rapid transit line, along with a host of major public transportation upgrades.

  3. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  4. Transportation

    When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

    The largest transit agency in the U.S. is building a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station north of Manhattan.

  5. a photo of a woman on an electric scooter
    Design

    A Bad New Argument Against Scooters: Historic Inappropriateness

    The argument over whether electric scooters belong in Old Town Alexandria reflects an age-old rationalization against change.

×