Make Yourself at Home at B&N

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29 July 2009

From Publisher’s Weekly online yesterday:

Barnes & Noble is partnering with AT&T to provide free in-store Wi-Fi access to customers at all stores nationwide. 

CEO Steve Riggio said providing free Wi-Fi to customers is helping the retailer “[extend] the sense of community that has always been in our stores.” The company also stressed that in offering free Wi-Fi, customers will be able to easily download and preview e-books. The company said the number of e-books it carries in its new e-book store is expanding daily, and it expects to hit the one million mark soon. Riggio called the addition of free Wi-Fi in all stores “a natural progression of our digital strategy to provide customers with more choices in how, when and where they want to read.” 

Big change for B&N, I suspect we’ll be seeing more seating as well, and a friendlier atmosphere for lounging around in general (if you’ve ever tried Union Square or Upper West Side B&N in NYC for a lunch-hour or after-work pit stop, you’ve probably seen the hordes of people sprawled out on the floor, leaning up against bookshelves and heating units). It all makes sense: if you’re selling online, you need to give your customers access.

As for the AT&T partnership… is Starbucks next for free Wi-fi? It’s gotta be.

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