As an ebook blogger, I of course watch the major ebookstores. I'm watching for the sales, of course, but I also track the special deals. And lately it seems that B&N has been offering quite a few more deals than anyone else. The sheer volume of special offers, discount coupons, and sales is beginning to feel like an act of desperation.
Take the recent Nook sales, for example. Today BN kicked off another sale. It's trade-in offer, and the sale runs until 24 December. Bring in an original Nook and you'll get $50 off your purchase. And this was the third sale in 3 days, in fact. Yesterday BN started selling the Nook Touch for $75 on Ebay (new), and on Thursday Bn offered the refurbished NookColor for $130 on Ebay.
And then there are the email sales pitches. Do you have an account with Barnes & Noble? If you do, check out how many emails you've received over the past month. I'm now up to 38 different emails (between 2 B&N accounts). I have an active and a defunct account, and B&N is putting a lot of effort into getting those accounts to buy stuff. And I'm not just getting 19 pairs of emails; B&N is running multiple campaigns and each account is getting different sales pitches. Even if you split it in half and count only 19 emails, I'm still seeing an average exceeding 1 email every other day.
I know it sounds weird to say that they're trying too hard, but I think that's the case. B&N has even surpassed Kobo in the email department. Kobo used to be my touchstone for excessive email marketing, but in the past month I've only gotten 13 emails from Kobo, and I also have 2 accounts with Kobo (one was transferred from Borders). That should give you a good idea of how far overboard B&N has gone.
BTW, I do also get emails from Amazon, but even though they have a bunchaton of items to sell I've only gotten 10 emails from Amazon this past month.
The last time I can recall a bookseller acting this desperate was last Christmas. Border got really pushy gift cards, discounts, and sales offers. And of course we know what happened to them. Now, we know B&N is not going to be in immediate danger; they have that recent $200m investment from Liberty to fall back on. There's no chance of B&N folding as fast as Borders did, but that still doesn't mean they're having a good quarter.
We're going to have to wait until late January to find out how B&N did, but I'm not expecting good news. And even if I'm wrong, you have to agree that B&N does look desperate.
Image by niallkennedy