Let me start off by saying that I have loved Barnes & Noble for many years. I remember when the first store opened in Utah, we would take the entire family there for a couple of hours, let our children read and then buy a bunch of books. We didn’t care that it was a 20 mile drive – it was worth it. It was the first bookstore in Utah that reminded me of Krochs and Brentanos and the bookstores in the Chicago Loop that I would spend my lunch hours in.
For many years I have purchased an annual membership to save money on the cost of physical books and purchases in the Barnes & Noble store. That $25 investment usually was recouped in a few months because of the amount of books my family read.
Three and a half years ago I bought my first Kindle and found out how inexpensive e-books could be. (Sadly – that was back when even new release novels were $9.99 at the most). I loved my Kindle 2 and took it everywhere. Less and less was the need to purchase physical books. I mainly get them now if they have extensive pictures or are database reference manuals or program and project management reference books. I was still buying these in the Barnes & Noble stores until I priced them on Amazon and figured out that even with shipping thrown in, these books were cheaper to purchase off of Amazon.com than in the Barnes & Noble store with my discounts.
My friend kept trying to convince me about how great Nooks were and how much better they were than Kindles. I received a Nook Color earlier this year and have probably read about five books on the Nook.
Reason 1: I have several Kindles and like to be able to put books on multiple copies for whenever I have one available.
Reason 2: I was finding lots more free and cheap books on the Kindle from Amazon.com, ireaderreview.com and on Facebook than I found for the Nook from Barnes & Noble.com and Facebook posts.
Reason 3: It seems to me that there are many more e-books available from Amazon than from Barnes & Noble and the prices were generally lower.
Final Reason: I received two Barnes & Noble gift cards for my birthday last month. I understand why Barnes & Noble won’t allow me to use the membership discount on purchasing e-readers and e-reader supplies. However, when I called customer service, I was informed that the membership discounts also don’t apply to e-books and apps. Well, guess what? That is what I want to purchase.
At this point I will continue to purchase books for my Nook when they are free and when I have gift certificates. But I will not be renewing my annual membership because I will not be able to recoup the cost of that membership in the amount of physical books I purchase (I still have far too many research books I am working through). Barnes & Noble has lost my loyalty. If they want to stand a chance in the e-reader wars, I think they need to reconsider this decision. Even if they only offered 10% off on e-books and apps – I might reconsider. But 0% is a deal breaker and – while that makes me sad – I have to consider price savings when I make purchases. Saving $25 a year allows me to buy 2 more new release novels for my Kindles.
Filed under: Kindle vs Nook