Times Staff and Wire Reports

Borders Group Inc. will offer free shipping this holiday season for out-of-stock merchandise.

If a book isn’t in the store, Borders will find it and ship it to the customer for no charge, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company said.

The guarantee, which applies to any item listed on, will run until Dec. 16. The move could help the chain retain customers who might otherwise turn to to buy a book they can’t find in stores.

Free shipping will abound this holiday season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. More than a third of online retailers said their budgets for free shipping are higher than last year, and 30% said free shipping offers will start earlier than a year ago, according to the survey.