Librarians, Tell Amazon to Piss Off And Go Buy Nooks!

Libraries need to get away from Amazon and Kindles and jump on board with Nooks. I’m not saying this for any reason except that Barnes and Noble is a much better company for libraries to partner with. If you want to see reasons why you shouldn’t bother with Kindles, then you should watch this video from Sarah Houghton But I’m not going to make that argument myself. I’ve had enough with all that. Instead I’m going to tell you all the reasons that I loved working with Barnes and Noble to get our eReader lending program going with a collection of Nooks. I’m not even going to defend the collection itself (I’ll do that in another post)

First of all, this whole thing started because someone just called my library one day and offered us $4,000 from a Cable Co-Op grant for no good reason at all. They just wanted us to use the money for some kind of technology. I offered the idea of eReaders and they went for it. Not only did they go for it, but so did my administration (since they didn’t have to pay for it anyway).

Click here for Sacramento PL's Guide to Nook Lending

So, I spent about 6-7 months procrastinating and watching the eReader environment play out for a while and it didn’t look like it was going well. The Kindles/Overdrive/Amazon/Publishers debacle was killing my enthusiasm for the project. I researched what I thought was everyone’s experience with Amazon and Kindle because using those was my original intention. Buffy Hamilton told me about her experience with Amazon and so did a bunch of other librarians. They had everything from really positive experiences to really bad ones. Soon, I realized that the very bad stories started to outweigh the positive few and I was getting worried. I started to HATE this project and put it off even longer.

Finally, I found out about Sacramento Public’s Nook Lending collection at the California Library Association Conference and I spent some time watching their presentations and talking to the Barnes and Noble reps that were there. They were enthusiastic to work with libraries and librarians to put these collections together. They had ideas and wanted to share them. They spoke candidly and told me all of their concerns with the pressure from publishers and what I should expect in the future.

A couple of weeks later I called my local Barnes and Noble and I got exactly the same treatment! I couldn’t believe it! I was guided to the closest Barnes and Noble with a Community Relations Manager (CRM – Key word to me being “Community”) who then guided me through the whole process of ordering the maximum number of Nooks I could order, while balancing with gift cards for the purchasing of eBooks from the website. They are even coming to our library to give my staff a hands-on training on how to use the Nooks. They even went so far as to offer to teach classes to the public about how to use the Nooks! To say I was impressed was an unimaginable understatement. I know they’re just trying to sell more Nooks, but they won me over! Also, they bought me and the employee that I brought with me a coffee. Nothing buys a librarian’s love like free coffee.

If you want to start a Nook collection, call your local Barnes and Noble and ask to speak to a CRM (Community Relations Manager). If your experience is half of what mine was, this would make them the best vendor on the planet.

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About pcsweeney

Currently, I'm the Branch Manager of the East Palo Alto Library in California. If you find yourself to be extremely bored (and would like to be more bored) you can find all of my internet mind droppings about libraries by googling pcsweeney.
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6 Responses to Librarians, Tell Amazon to Piss Off And Go Buy Nooks!

  1. Carrie Russell says:

    All Nook users and fans – ask B&N to make the Nook accessible for people with print disabilities.

  2. sraslim says:

    Yay for coffee! Yes, Buffy’s experience was a bad one. Glad you are enjoying the Nooks!

  3. librarianry says:

    We are also starting to do the B&N Nook Lending Program and can contribute the fact that the B&N staff have been extremely enthusiastic and helpful! One tip I’d like to share to those that are thinking of joining: to purchase as many eReaders/Tablets as possible, as them if you can get the refurbished devices. They have quite a few available, and your cost per device is roughly 30-40% cheaper.

    • pcsweeney says:

      Yes, that’s true! They will do everything they can to help you out and the Refurbished Nooks are much cheaper. I should do a How-To blog post, but Sacramento Public’s How-to on their website linked above is more than adequate and I’m not sure what else I would add.

  4. Havilah Lyon says:

    I have to second the refurbished Nook idea. I bought a refurbished Color Nook at Christmas and had major problems with it – it would open up videos all by itself and start playing them…it was quite strange, to say the least. I called it the poltergeist Nook. :) I returned it to B&N and they gave me another one on the spot – no hassles at all (also refurbished). This second one has been absolutely fantastic – I have had no problems with it whatsoever.
    So I think the original one was just a bad Nook – I think it’s just the luck of the draw when working with electronics that you’re occasionally going to get a lemon. However, the important part is a company that stands behind its products, and B&N did that 100%. I wish all stores had the great customer service that B&N offers.
    Thanks for the informative post!

  5. Pingback: Developing an E-Book Strategy: Now and For the Future » Public Libraries Online

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