I admit it. I was a bit peeved to find out that Barnes and Noble had stopped offering their "Fast and Free" shipping service for orders over $25. Living where I do, fast delivery was the primary reason I chose Barnes and Noble over the plethora of other online book vendors.
They still offer "standard" free shipping with a $25 minimum, but so does everyone else.
So, why did they change? They moved that 'fast' delivery as a member benefit to their Membership card program. The one with the $25 fee.
It seems they are taking a page out of Amazon's playbook with this move. And it doesn't make me happy.
I don't believe in paying a fee for a loyalty card. Ever. Either the store offers deals and service that I like or they don't. I don't want to be strong-armed into paying for a card that then requires me to be "loyal" to that company in order to make my investment pay off.
Which is why I'm not an Amazon Prime member either.
Initially, I expect to see an increase in BN Membership sales. (Formerly Readers' Advantage). Then I expect BN to increase the cost of the card.
Yeah, I'm an optimist.
That's not to say there aren't advantages to BN Members. In addition to the tiny discount members are given(for in store purchases ONLY), they are now getting free 3 BUSINESS day shipping from BN.com. With no order minimums. That's a good thing for existing cardholders. And much cheaper than Amazon's nearly $80 membership. But BN's fast delivery is not 2 day delivery. Or really 3 day delivery since it is only business days and itoften takes them 2 days to ship. Which means it could take up to a week to receive your books--even with the faster options.
B&N Membership Information