10 Reasons NOT to shop at Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble has a page on its website listing “10 Reasons to Shop at Barnes & Noble.com.” After my recent experience, I can easily give you 10 reasons NOT to shop there.

1. Their claim: “We Ship Fast!”

I placed my order on April 1. I received the books on July 6. Not very fast at all.

2. Their claim: “Our Lowest Prices Ever”

These are the books I ordered with a Barnes & Noble gift card. They’re all cheaper at Amazon, and I would have gotten them all from Amazon if not for that gift card. Amazon would have shipped what they had in stock as soon as I placed the order then shipped the one that published July 2 by itself, at no extra charge. And they wouldn’t have shipped it ON July 2, like B&N. Amazon would have shipped it a day or two sooner, so I would have had it closer to the publication date. Check out the savings:




  • The Other Woman
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780765369130



  • Always the Vampire
  • Nancy Haddock
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780425240885



  • Paris in Love
  • Eloisa James
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780812981902



  • Blonde with a Wand (Babes on Brooms Series #1)
  • Vicki Lewis Thompson
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780451228925



  • All the Queen’s Players
  • Jane Feather
  • Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780594234753
  • B&N cancelled this order, Amazon has it in stock



3. Their claim: “Selection You Can Depend On”

Apparently I can’t depend on their selection. Three months after I placed my order, they informed me that “All the Queen’s Players” was unavailable and cancelled the order. They told me after they shipped all the other books, or I would have selected something else to be shipped at the same time.

4. Their claim: “Everyone is eligible for Free Shipping when you spend $25.”

They only give you free shipping if you choose the “Ship In As Few Packages As Possible” option. That gives them the opportunity to sell your books to someone else and never fill your order.

5. Their claim: “Your personal information is safe with us.”

I don’t know about the website, but their store checkout systems were hacked in 2012.

6. Their claim: “We’re No. 1 — in Customer Satisfaction.”

Compared to whom, I wonder? They certainly haven’t satisfied me. I ordered five books. I chose “ship in as few packages as possible” to save on shipping. One of the books was coming out in July. I thought they’d ship everything else, or at least reserve those books for me. Instead, they waited until the day after they shipped my books to notify me that the fifth book was cancelled. Now, I have $3.33 left on a gift card, and even if I find a book for that price, the shipping would cost more. They refused to refund the difference, and they ignored my request for a free shipping code. The person who responded to my complaint also acted like nothing had shipped yet, therefore “Heather” didn’t even read my full email or research my order.

7. Their claim: ” The Ultimate Destination for Book-lovers.”

Yeah, not so much. Anything you can do on the Barnes and Noble website, you can do at Amazon. You could also choose to go to Goodreads or FreshFiction for reviews, sharing, lists, and other special features.

8. Their claim: “The world’s most advanced eReader is available exclusively at Barnes & Noble.”

First off, their Nook eReaders aren’t “exclusively” sold at Barnes and Noble. You can also pick one up at Walmart, Best Buy, and a number of online stores. Second, I find plenty of reviews that give higher, or at least equal ratings to Amazon’s Kindle and other tablets. Check out the comparisons for yourself at CNET and ABC News.

9. Their claim: “Barnes & Noble does not sell or rent your personal information”

They may not sell it or rent it, but when you actually read their privacy policy, you find out that they will share your information with a whole lot of people, including “partners” and “third party providers.” Giving it away still counts, guys.

10. They don’t claim to treat your order with care, and that’s just as well, because they don’t.

My order arrived in a ratty box that looked like it was re-used. It was barely taped and falling apart. The books were a little dogeared, but I feel fortunate that all the books they shipped were still in the box and not wet or seriously damaged.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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