Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), which is struggling with lower in-store sales, has a new promotional offer: Bring an old e-reader into a store, upgrade to a new Nook, and…we’ll let you rummage through our e-book remainder bin for free.
Starting tomorrow, when customers show a bookseller their old e-reader and buy a new Nook, they’ll get a free 2 GB microSD card loaded with 30 e-books, while supplies last. While B&N is promoting this as an “upgrade” program, shoppers don’t get money off a new e-reader–only the e-books, which B&N values at $315. The company also requires shoppers to show an old e-reader (not just buy a new Nook) to be eligible for the promotion.
I took a look at the list of e-books that Barnes & Noble is offering free, and it reminded me of the books on a B&N bargain table–titles like AARP Crash Course In Finding The Work You Love, Susie’s Sun Signs, and Country Living: The Mom’s Guide to Running a Business. Six of the titles are in the public domain, so they’re already free anyway. When I totaled the value of the books, I got $263.66. Perhaps B&N is valuing the SD card at $52.
Barnes & Noble’s store sales are down, and the company is trying to find ways to lure shoppers into stores. Earlier this week, it announced a promotion where Nook Color owners who own the $2.99 Angry Birds app can come into the store and get a free Mighty Eagle character.