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Internet wants to be free at Barnes & Noble

July 29, 2009 |  9:10 am
Barnes & Noble
Visitors at a Barnes & Noble store in New York. Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press.

You can no longer pay for Wi-Fi access at Barnes & Noble bookstores.

Now, it's free.

On Monday, the bookseller with 777 stores across the country quietly switched to a no-cost, unlimited Wi-Fi service for customers. Previously, the chain charged about $4 for two hours of access.

All it takes to get online is to enter one of the stores and pop open your laptop. Of course, the company hopes you'll buy a book or magazine while you're there, but it's not required. 

The B&N Internet service comes from AT&T, which also works with another nationwide chain -- Starbucks.

The coffee shop giant offers free Wi-Fi, but with strings attached. To get it, you must have a Starbucks card that can be used to make purchases at the shops. And that card has to have been used within 30 days.

Meet those requirements and you get Wi-Fi at Starbucks, for a maximum of two hours. After that, it costs.  

-- David Colker

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