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Barnes & Noble offers $100 to make up for tardy Nooks

December 22, 2009 |  7:04 am


When Barnes & Noble debuted its Nook in October, the plan was to get the e-reader in stores and to consumers by Christmas. But pre-orders were so strong that the company pulled the in-store plan; all devices would be needed to meet customer demand. And on Nov. 20, the company announced that the first run of Nooks was sold out -- so those who've purchased the Nook since then are waiting until 2010 to get their devices. 

As for those who pre-ordered the Nook before Nov. 20, the supply chain is, apparently, a little knotted up. Some Nooks have been delivered, but not all may make it before Christmas. Which is why Barnes & Noble on Monday began promising buyers $100 gift certificates if their Nook doesn't arrive in time to make it under the Christmas tree.

Consumerist posted the e-mail from Barnes & Noble:

Although your shipment has been slightly delayed, we are aiming for your order to leave our warehouse in time for you to receive it by December 24. ... If for whatever reason we are not able to ship your nook in time for arrival by December 24, with our sincerest apologies, we will send you an email notification on December 23 with a $100 Barnes&Noble.com Online Gift Certificate to use as you wish at BN.com. ...

It's pretty hard to make up for an absent gift under the Christmas tree. Barnes & Noble suggests that because the Nook can share e-books between devices, someone waiting for their Nook could download the software to their desktop computer, buy an e-book and begin reading before the Nook arrives. Yeah, it doesn't sound as much fun to me either.

That said, the gift certificate is a hefty apology -- more than a third the cost of the $259 Nook. And according to Barnes & Noble, those Nooks that don't arrive by Dec. 24 will be delivered by Dec. 29. And $100 to spend on new e-books as an apology for a five-day wait isn't so bad -- if you don't mind the delayed gratification. And as long as the deliveries don't get pushed back again.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: William Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com, at the October news conference announcing the Nook. Credit: JB Reed / Bloomberg