Twitter was filled with ridicule for Barnes & Noble promoting free classics. It even got several blog posts, one of which had this wonderful headline: Once again, B&N are giving away ebooks they don’t own.
Today I came across the press release for this effort and was intrigued by this:
The Barnes & Noble Classics Series, available in both print and digital format, offers high-quality special editions at affordable prices, including a variety of carefully crafted extras. Barnes & Noble Classics eBooks offer proofed and well-formatted digital editions with introductions commissioned from today’s top writers and scholars, as well as author biographies, chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events, and footnotes and endnotes. Barnes & Noble Classics eBooks also include selective discussions of films and other content inspired by various works, comments by other famous authors, study questions to challenge the reader’s viewpoints and expectations, and bibliographies for further reading.
Well, OK! That actually sounds good!
So I go to Barnes & Noble’s link to get these babies — and I’m asked to create an account.
That’s the first FAIL. I screamed at Sony over this when they did it. If you say something is free, make it free. Don’t say you want something from me in exchange — that’s not free, that’s a trade!
Well, I was stupid and gave Barnes & Noble the benefit of the doubt. Let me create an account and then maybe I can get these.
That goes well. I even praise them on Twitter for not asking for a credit card (unlike when Sony did!).
But I spoke too soon. When I try to download, I get the Atomic Bomb of FAIL:
Now they want a credit card number — for something listed with a price tag of free!
This is FAIL-o-rama.
Stop this right now, Barnes & Noble. Change the entire procedure for those classics. Stop calling them free if people must create an account. And once they create that account, don’t ask for financial information!
What are you thinking over there, Barnes & Noble? Don’t you realize that if people sample these are they’re actually superior to all others it becomes excellent marketing for your Nook, your bookstore, your brand, and future sales?