Price Matching at Barnes and Noble

Yesterday, I had a great Barnes and Noble experience, in Birmingham, as they are now letting customers get the BN.com price, in the store, and I want to share.

I needed a copy of Mark Larabee’s Pacific Crest Trail book (which is a beautiful book, by the way). I called my indie shop down the street and they didn’t have a copy.

I went to BN.com and saw that the book was $36 (which matched other online retailers) compared to the $50 in-store price. That’s a great discount. I was also able to see that a local Barnes and Noble store had it in stock.

Then I remembered a little birdie telling me that B&N is running a price matching program for B&N Members. I am not sure why they aren’t trumpeting this.

I walked in a local Barnes and Noble and asked the manager about it. She confirmed that it is real and then shared some of her thoughts about it. I would say she was neither plussed nor upset about the practice, just that…

“…customers have been confused by the different prices in store and online and have been asking for this for a long, long time”.

I thought that a pretty fair assessment.

All I had to do was go up, give them my B&N Membership number and the cashier showed me the special “compare to current BN.com price” button, on the register. It took all of 2 seconds and I checked out with the lower online price + tax. The cashier said that if you always ask for the comparison (again after your member # has been entered) the system will give you the lowest price possible. So if your member discount drops the in-store price lower than the online price, you’ll still come out ahead.

This is exactly the kind of customer-focused thinking Barnes and Noble needs to be doing.

  1. I was able to research prices and availability online
  2. I could have even reserved a copy online
  3. I was able to go to a local store, pay local taxes, and get the lowest price Barnes and Noble was offering, online or off.
  4. I had my book immediately (which even beats free 2 day delivery)

Hopefully, more customers will use this price-matching program. It leverages the best pieces B&N has access to, and will keep them  relevant and front-of-mind for local readers. These kinds of services can help them win in a way that all their past experiments, with in-store restaurants and bars, just can’t do.

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

I love this time of year. Things seem to slow down just a tad, just before the new year, and allow some room for quiet and even spurts of uninterrupted reading. Joy!

I do hope that you have been able to carve out some moments of peace this holiday and that the stress of things piling up in the weeks ahead isn’t too daunting. It can be a scary feeling.

One of the books I managed to finish last week was Nicholas Basbanes’ Among the Gently Mad and it had a few bookish Christmas facts in there.

  1. The first time “Merry Christmas” appereared in print was in a travel book printed in 1617
  2. The first illustration of Saint Nick was in 1863
  3. The first commercially printed Christmas card was in 1843
  4. The earliest known printed illustration of Santa coming down a chimney is from 1841

I have to admit to being surprised at just how young Santa is.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which offers tours and thoughts behind people who collect books and associated artifacts. Basbanes has been at the bookman game a long time. Though I was bummed that I was coming to this book late. It was published in 2002. So many of the radio shows, blogs, dealers, names, etc. aren’t relevant these days. I hate that I missed out on something called The Book Guys Radio Show, which seems to have had a long life, before being cancelled.

New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s one of the few times there is some semblance of a global party and you get the sense that for a split second everyone is looking forward together. I hope you stay safe and have a fun time as we welcome 2018!

May you read lots of worthwhile words in the new year ahead.

BookTV is Featuring Fiction

BookTV has aired, on CSPAN2, every weekend since 1998 focusing on non-fiction books. That focus shifts a little in January 2018 when their 3-hour-long show In Depth will begin featuring fiction authors as well.

They are going to feature one fiction author, on the first Sunday of each month, all year long. These segments will be conducted as all In Depth shows are, allowing viewers to watch live and call or send in questions via social media.

They haven’t shared the whole line up for the year, but there are some big fiction authors slated to be on the show:

  • January 7th: David Ignatius
  • February 4th: Colson Whitehead
  • March 4th: Jeff Shaara
  • April 1st: Walter Mosley
  • May 6th: TBD
  • June 3rd: Gish Jen
  • July 1st: Brad Thor
  • August 5th: Cory Doctorow
  • September 2nd: TBD
  • October 7th: Geraldine Brooks
  • November 4th: TBD
  • December 2nd: Brad Meltzer

What a great lineup! Those are some smart folks who are writing about big and small topics all over the place. BookTV has chatted with fiction authors before during their coverage of literary festivals or industry events like Book Expo of America. In fact they’re airing a conversation with George Saunders about his book Lincoln in the Bardo, which is a segment I plan on watching.

If you don’t keep up with BookTV, it is well worth your while to check the lineup every weekend. They’ve had some great interviews over the years and they broadcast many author readings, book parties, and book festivals. It’s one of the coolest things our government has every spent taxpayer dollars on. The BookTV YouTube channel is worth a subscription too.

 

Books, Publishing and Birmingham