Friday, November 18, 2011

A Barnes & Noble Discount Dilemma: Why get 30% off when you can have 40% off!

Actual emails sent to me today







Dear Barnes & Noble,

I know bookstores are going through rough times right now, and I truly sympathize. I'm a book lover through and through. I also know you purchased Borders Books' intellectual property which included its customer database and the Borders.com name. So, as far as you're concerned, I'm your customer now. Fine. I enjoy your stores. I have nothing against you.

But, when you toss out these casual discounts in an auction-like manner, I have to ask, "What price dignity?" Is the desperation so palpable that the lack of my taking action in the course of 51 minutes caused you to give away 10% more margin? Can you really afford that? Do you even believe in the inherent value of the product you sell?

Perhaps I'm reading too much into it. Perhaps you just had two different emails for me (I have them all routed to one central account by the way) and you chose to offer two seemingly different Todds actually different discounts. Ah, but there's the rub. Now I feel bad for all those who only got offered a 30% discount. Can't you just treat all your new customers the same. The loyal ones will rise to the top. And they will buy because they were probably going to buy from you anyway.

Good luck with the conversion of Borders' old customers. I truly hope they all go to you and not just Amazon. I want them to stay in the bookstores, touching the books, sharing recommendations with engaging booksellers, and participating in their communities. Sorry Amazon, but you just can't offer that.

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