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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 bn.com, 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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