Barnes & Noble, Borders test me to see if I’m an idiot

A better deal at Walmart

So I have two Frequent Reader e-mails waiting for me this afternoon offering me 40% off the new John Grisham book.  With a $24 cover price, I can get it for $14.40 at both Barnes & Noble and Borders.  And I get free shipping from B&N (since I’m a member) and 20% off my next Borders purchase (if I make it within a couple of weeks).  Oh, happy days.

Except for one thing.  It’s already sitting in front of me and I got it for $8.99 through  With free shipping.

Now to be fair, Walmart is selling it for $11.99 online today (so is Amazon).  I pre-ordered my copy during the Walmart-Amazon price war a few weeks back.   But still…it’s a better deal today.  So B&N and Borders decided to compete on price when theirs is not the lowest price.  Smart.

So here’s my question…Do they think I’m a moron?  That I don’t read the papers (or cruise around the Internet)?  Guys, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to highlight bad deals on your one weekly e-mail to loyal readers unless you’re going to add something of actual value.

Forget that many of us probably jumped at the Walmart offer a few weeks ago.  Try promoting some other book that Walmart and Amazon aren’t selling at rock-bottom rates.  Give me some bonus points that don’t expire before I get my confirmation e-mail.  Beat the other two at their own game and offer a deep discount on a book with some early holiday purchases…or something you have that they don’t.

The problem is staring B&N and Borders in the face over at  America’s Reading List — 50% or more off the top 200 books. 

Today’s e-mails were not the way to keep customers and beat the competition.  This is the Bulldog Simplicity Dumb Move of the Week.  It was lazy and short-sighted, and their marketing people deserve to go stand in the corner.


2 thoughts on “Barnes & Noble, Borders test me to see if I’m an idiot

  1. You make a great point, however, there are a great many of us who refuse to feed the Walmart beast. So I’ll pay that $14.40 and not worry that the B&N employees are being required to work off the clock, that for them full time MEANS a full 40 hours with benefits and that they don’t have to use food stamps to feed their kids. If you can find another vendor who can sell it for less without abusing their work force or the government, then I might be interested in saving a buck.

    1. I hear you..but Amazon was offering the same (or close to the same) price a few weeks ago. My point was that the marketers for those two chains could have shown a bit more creativity and not spent their precious marketing time and focus on an item that Walmart is viewing as a loss leader to get you to buy other things. I bought only two items — both priced at $8.99 — that they’re losing big money on. Thanks, however, for taking the time to comment and it is a valid point.

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