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Barnes & Noble Experiments With Print/eBook Bundles

barnes noble logoHot on the heels of B&N’s expansion into author services comes the news that Barnes & Noble is trying a bundle program of their own. The retailer is bringing print and digital together with a new program called B&N Sync Up.

From now until Christmas readers will the option of visiting a B&N store, choosing one of 70 eligible paperback titles, and then picking up a matching ebook for $4.99. When checking out, the customer will receive a redemption code which they can either activate on their own account or give away as a gift.

B&N hasn’t revealed the complete list of eligible titles, but there is mention that the program includes Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

You can find more details at your local B&N store, or on the B&N website.

I’ve checked a few of the prices, and they’re not bad. Several of the titles are old enough that you can find the paperback and ebook pretty cheaply, but other bundled titles like Doctor Sleep do offer a good value when bought together.

B&N is far from the first to offer print/digital bundles; they are following in the path trod by HarperCollins, which launched two separate pilot programs with BitLit and Bookshout earlier this year. Those programs were spread across multiple indie booksellers, making them far more ambitious on a technical level than B&N’s program. What’s more, HarperCollins also tested print/digital bundles last year in the UK.

And even HC wasn’t the first; textbook publishers have tried the idea on and off over the past half dozen years.  O’Reilly has been offering similar bundles for years, and as you might recall Amazon launched a post facto bundle program, Kindle Matchbook, last year.

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fjtorres November 12, 2014 um 10:07 pm

Of course, Amazon has had Matchbook for over a year for those publishers willing to participate. I got a few ebooks that way…

Nate Hoffelder November 12, 2014 um 10:08 pm

Damn, how did i miss that?

Edit: and then there is O’Reilly.

fjtorres November 12, 2014 um 10:25 pm

You didn’t get any retroactive freebies? 😉

Nate Hoffelder November 12, 2014 um 10:39 pm

I also missed O’Reilly. I’m off my game tonight.

jafmaw November 13, 2014 um 7:25 am

Similar to O’Reilly in offerings, The Pragmatic Bookshelf has also offered print-ebook combos for years.

DaveMich November 13, 2014 um 10:17 am

The only reason I can see anyone wanting to do this is to buy a paper book as a gift and get an ebook for oneself at a discount. Otherwise, why do I want the paper book at all?

Nate Hoffelder November 13, 2014 um 10:22 am

For these books, you might want a hardback on your shelf as decoration. But I don’t see why you’d want a paperback, not if you read ebooks.

DavidW November 13, 2014 um 10:30 am

Meh. If the ebook was free, that is one thing. Discounting it, forget about it. I don’t want to pay for two different copies of the same book.

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