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Holiday Casualties during the eBook Wars

Posted Dec 31 2009 1:50pm

Kindle2 I was one of those 900,000 people who were predicted to buy a new eReader during November and December 2009.  My selection was Amazon.com's Kindle eReader.

That purchase prompted a thoughtful loved one to purchase an "eBooks Gift Card" from Barnes and Noble (B&N) booksellers as my Christmas gift.  One would expect that an "eBooks Gift Card" would allow one to purchase eBooks that are harmoniously compatible with the purchaser's eReader make and model---like buying new tires for an automobile.  Not so, Virginia.

Since I know that B&N's new Nook eReader uses a different eBook format than Amazon's Kindle format, I called B&N customer service to inquire how I might buy ebooks in Kindle format through B&N.  The answer was, "You can't."  This response was confirmed by a later email message on Thursday, 12/31/09: 
 
Dear Customer,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Unfortunately, at this time, eBooks purchased on our website are not
compatible with (KINDLE).  Please check our website often as we are
continuing to expand our download capabilities to other devices.   At
this time, the Barnes & Noble eReader supports downloads to your PC,
iPhone, MAC and Blackberry.
We appreciate your patience and look forward to your next visit.

Sincerely,

Latonia
Customer Service Representative
Barnes and Noble
http://www.bn.com/
I had asked a customer service person during our telephone conversation if I could receive cash back in exchange for the eBooks Gift Card (since other than Kindle format does not read well on my Kindle eReader).  The answer was, "You can't exchange the gift card for cash, except where required by law."
 
The predicted fallout is: B&N (and other non-Amazon.com booksellers) will lose many eBook sales because they can't sell eBooks in Kindle format.  Also, their once loyal book store customers, who now have Kindle eReaders want to buy B&N eBooks, may become confused and disappointed that they have purchased a hard-to-read eBook due to an incompatible format. 
 
The only way to buy eBooks in Kindle format today is through www.Amazon.com which is probably another reason why Amazon's market share will continue to rise along with the value of Amazon stock. 
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