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New Email Promises a Refund for Ex-Fictionwise Customers

Have you gotten an email from a company called Penchecks, promising a refund for a Fictionwise store credit club membership? I just got one in my inbox this morning, and I’m pretty sure it’s legit.


It seems Barnes & Noble is in the final stages of shutting down Fictionwise, the ebookstore they acquired in 2009 and then closed in December 2012, and as part of settling outstanding debts B&N has decided to offer  refunds to ex-Fictionwise customers who still had a store credit or time left on their Buywise Club membership.

The email comes via a company called, and after looking into them I am pretty sure that they are legit. A google search did not show any signs of questionable activity, the reimbursement process did not raise any red flags, and this firm was even mentioned on the Fictionwise website.

If you haven’t gotten one, the email says that I have about a week to sign up with PenChecks in order to get a "cash reimbursement" from Fictionwise.  They ask me to go to a website, enter the code, and fill out a form.

I’m sure everyone reading this is as concerned as I was about being scammed, so I went ahead and completed the process. PenChecks already had nearly all of my contact info (email, street address, name, phone number), so all I had to do was check a few boxes, confirm that I wanted to get my check, and I was done.

Note: I was not asked for credit card info, bank account routing details, or any other personal info that a scammer would want. I was as concerned as you are, so I want to make that point clear.

According to PenChecks, I’m getting about $45 back as a check.  That was a surprise; I didn’t think my membership was still valid when Fictiownise shut down. I was under the impression it had expired, but I guess I was wrong.

This is going to make a nice little bonus to go along with all the Fictionwise ebooks which were transferred to my B&N account in early 2012. I was luckier than most; B&N managed to get my entire library transferred. Many former Fictionwise customers (who aren’t visible ebook bloggers) weren’t so lucky – and don’t get me started on Fictionwise’s international customers, who were shafted.

Email snippet:

RE: Fictionwise Buywise Club Membership
Dear Fictionwise Buywise Club Account Holder,

This email is to inform you that will be providing you with a cash reimbursement of the Buywise Club Membership that you enrolled in at This reimbursement has been prorated based on the end of sales at in December 2012. Fictionwise has contracted with PenChecks, the nation’s largest independent distribution processor, to facilitate this distribution.

To complete the distribution process, please update your information as prompted in the mailing address update form at . Please note that all updates must be confirmed by 2/5/2014.

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Paul Durrant January 25, 2014 um 7:08 am

I got the email too. I had a long time left on my Buywise membership, so my check will be $14o. Of course, quite a lot of that will go in the foreign check procesing fees from my back, but I should clear $100-$120.

I must admit I’d written that off completely, so it’s very nice to hear I might be getting some money after all.

Nate Hoffelder January 25, 2014 um 7:39 am

Do you suppose this means that NooK Media is going to be sold or shut down, so B&N wanted to tie up another loose end?

flyingtoastr January 25, 2014 um 2:33 pm

Remember guys, when BN does something nice for their customers it’s because they’re planning on shutting down the business, not just trying to do the right thing.


Nate Hoffelder January 25, 2014 um 3:17 pm

Nice? We must be using different dictionaries.

Nice would have been finding a way to support the international customers. Nice would have been making sure that everyone had their ebooks transferred over. Nice would have been keeping Fictionwise open and making it the nook international store.

Barnes & Noble has done so many non-nice things that it is easy to imagine an ulterior motive.

But you are correct in challenging me; If they were going to shut down the Nook division they could have written this debt off with the rest of the loss.

Chris Meadows January 25, 2014 um 7:44 am

I never got any email from ’em, but then my Buywise membership ran out well before they closed the service down.

Alexander Inglis January 25, 2014 um 12:53 pm

If you go to you’ll find this on the front page:

Fictionwise Micropay Customer Account Reimbursements

Fictionwise has aligned with PenChecks Trust to facilitate the reimbursement of all remaining Fictionwise Micropay accounts of $5 and over. PenChecks will be distributing a series of account holder notification emails on behalf of Fictionwise. If you should have any questions about this process or PenChecks Trust, you can learn more at their website or by calling their toll-free Client Service line at (800) 541-3938.

So, yah, I guess it’s legit.

Kevin January 25, 2014 um 7:21 pm

$45! That is $45 more than I got from my relative who died in Nigeria and left me $200 million, or $45 more than my friend' aunt who gets $2000 a week working from home for one hour a day

Nate Hoffelder January 28, 2014 um 11:55 pm


Ellen Hage January 25, 2014 um 10:22 pm

I also got about 98% of my books transferred to BN. It took awhile, but it was done. Thanks for this post. I got an email and was somewhat skeptical. I didn’t know I had any money left. So now I have $13.42 coming to me.

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