Barnes and Noble announced they were overhauling their membership program earlier in the year. The service has been in a quiet beta test and is now ready for prime time. The nation’s largest bookseller is sending out emails to customers explaining the changes. They are doing this so more people sign up and pay for a series of online and in-store benefits.
The new Premium Membership maintains a 10% discount in Barnes & Noble stores and adds a 10% discount to purchases on bn.com and a new spend-and-save reward on all shopping. One stamp is earned for every $10 spent on a purchase, and the customer receives a $5 reward for every ten stamps. In addition, Premium Membership gives free drink upgrades in B&N Cafes, a free canvas tote and many other Member-only benefits and offers, including free standard shipping. The Premium Membership annual fee is $39.99.
Barnes & Noble also offers a new, free-to-enroll B&N Rewards program. B&N Rewards gives customers a spend-and-save reward on all shopping. One stamp is earned for every $10 spent on a purchase; the customer receives a $5 reward for every ten stamps. This is the bookseller’s first introduction of a complimentary element to its loyalty program.
The CEO of Barnes and Noble, James Daunt, estimated that at least 75% of the 5.5 million people paying $25 annually on the old membership plan would sign up for the new $40-a-year program. He said he expects the total number of paid members to remain the same at year-end because he believes new customers will be attracted to the $39 offer.
Barnes & Noble is enjoying a resurgence in sales, buoyed by the significant expansion of the market for physical books driven by word-of-mouth and social media recommendations. The bookseller is showing strong growth for the first time in over a decade and plans to open over 30 new bookstores next year. Readers who are interested in joining either membership level are encouraged to visit their local Barnes & Noble or buy it online.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.