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I almost bought a nook today…

image Barnes & Noble announced Nook, their new ebook reader.

It looks great. It has better features than the Kindle.  And it doesn’t have the Kindle’s ugly keyboard.

This is a big deal for me. I’m an Amazon addict and buy EVERYTHING from them. Personal and business, I probably order every other day from Amazon. I order cases of books for my office and friends.

I was ready to buy the Nook and give it a try. I figured I could check it out for a few days. I thought about how the hassle of moving my wish lists over to, and that I’d have to probably start buying all my books there. A minor inconvenience if the ereader was great.

And a major premium-customer score for Barnes & Noble.

Until I read the return policy: Rude.

A 10% restocking fee will be charged to customers returning a non-defective device that has had its shrink wrap removed and/or seal broken. Please note: if you do not call for a return authorization number and send the Nook to the wrong return center, no refund will be provided and your Nook will not be returned to you.

You blew it, guys. No way I’m going to pay you $25 for the privilege of testing out your experimental product. You should be paying ME $25 for being an early adopter. You should give it to me free to get my book business away from Amazon. (That’s an idea: Give a free ebook reader to anyone who can show you $1000 in Amazon receipts.)

I guess I’m back to browsing in a Barnes & Noble store, then ordering books from Amazon on my iPhone from your cafe. At least you sold me a coffee.

The Lessons: Don’t let the lawyers screw it up. The underdog has to be nicer. The little things matter. Understand your cost of acquisition and invest smartly. Treat early adopters well. Be friendly.

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  1. Jenn Sutherland October 21, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks for this post…I’ve been on the fence about buying one, too – and I HAVE a Kindle already, but the return policy is not nice. I’ll wait and see a bit. And you’re right about moving over all the wish lists, etc – I use those extensively.

  2. Gilly October 21, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    Interesting post Andy – I am an Amazon addict too, with very similar habits. Your post got me thinking what Amazon’s return policy was… Kindle restock is free within 30 days, not bad. Everything else costs you about 15% of the purchase (certainly electronics does).

    I am still a loyal Amazonian (is that what we’re called? Amazonite?) but being an early adopter do we really care about a $25 restock fee, just to get our hands on the product and have the badge of honour of saying you’re one of the first to try it?

    If cost was a major factor in this type of behaviour, we’d all be waiting for the first price drop in 6 months time and wouldn’t be in this category. That’s not who we are, so I’d swallow the $25… Plus if it’s as good as it looks, we’re not returning it anyway, right?

  3. matt haines October 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    I dunno, I still like the paper variety of books. Until they come up with an electronic reader that meets these essential criteria, I won’t be needing one:

    1. Can drop it in the toilet and not a) lose hundreds of dollars of electronics and b) thousands of dollars of reading material.
    2. Can set it down, pick it up an hour later and be able to find my place without running out of juice.
    3. ability to dog-ear the corners, tear out pages I like (even electronically)
    4. Lend a book to a friend without having to lend my entire library.
    5. Use it to shade the sun when I decide to take a nap instead of reading by the pool.
    6. Has to look good on a shelf and fill up an entire bookcase, yet still be portable.
    7. Contents can be checked out from the library, renewed, and returned.
    8. Is larger than a paragraph’s worth of words at a legible size.
    9. Is part of my iphone so I don’t have to carry around yet another expensive device carrying big parts of my data-life on it.
    10. Can prop up a leg on a wobbly table.

  4. Gilly October 21, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    11. Needs to be used as a weapon to ward off flies, bugs and other creepie crawlies while on safari in the Amazon, and still be readable after….

  5. Cristina October 25, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    To Matt,
    not that the nook meets all your requirements but just so you know:
    1. You can buy a protection plan that will cover any accidents including dropping it in the toilet… and you will never lose your library because it is attached to your bn account and you can re-download anything you need.
    2. You can lend single books to your other friends that have bn e-reader accounts (I am not sure if they are required to have a nook themselves but I don’t think so).
    3. iPhone has a bn e-reader app that can sync up to the nook so it always knows where you left off

  6. DY November 17, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    Winning brand touchpoints are a 360 degree, full circle experience. Failure in any section of the arch can unravel winning experiences quickly. World class experiences protect and keep that circle unbroken. A good decision to stay with Kindle IMHO.

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