Barnes & Offers Shipping

NEW YORK — Barnes & has introduced a free shipping offer for two or more items purchased.

The online bookseller also reduced the domestic standard ground rates for shipment of single items by a dollar, the company announced Monday.

In a news release, Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes &, said the free shipping offer comes without changing prices or “making fine-print exceptions.”

Rival recently moved to offer free shipping for two or more items. However, that offer came with product price increases.

Kristin Schaefer, an spokeswoman, described’s move as just a test, and planned to “wrap it up” this week. She noted that there were both increases and decreases in prices on a number of products across the board, she said.

Elliott Ettenberg, chairman and chief executive of Customer Strategies Worldwide, an Internet consulting business, noted that paying shipping costs is one of the top pet peeves among consumers shopping online. However, he believes measures like these are only short-term cures.

“They are lowering the costs, but that doesn’t do anything to increase the value,” he said. “They need to build relationships with customers.”

Barnes &’s shares were down almost 7 percent, or 11 cents a share, to $6.81 in late dealings on the Nasdaq Stock Market.