Borders just changed their system so you don't have to give them a credit card in order to download a free ebook. This is a big deal. It shows that Borders actually thought about this and realized what they were doing wrong.
I thought the matter was simple but given that several ebookstores still don't understand, perhaps I should explain why Borders changed their system.
The point of free ebooks is to give people a reason to come back to an ebookstore. (Obvious, I know.) But there is a corollary that seems to have escaped some ebookstores: you need to make this as easy as possible for the customer.
Borders used to require a credit card number before you could download a free ebook. (B&N still do.) I would have thought that forcing a customer to fill out a form in order to get a freebie would not count as making the process simple. It also irritates some customers. I, for one, won't give out personal info to get a freebie, and I'm probably not alone in that.
I didn't have an account at Borders and I don't have an account at B&N. But I did have an account at Kobo. Do you know why? It's becuase Kobo didn't require a credit card. And becuase I already have an account with Kobo, it's now the second place I check for ebooks (after Amazon).
P.S. I'm going to go download some freebies from Borders.com.