Barnes & Noble has introduced another service to lever off its bricks-and-mortar presence into greater ebook market share with the rollout of B&N Sync Up, which offers ebook pairings with a selected series of paperback titles – but for an additional $4.99. “Buy the paperback, get the eBook for $4.99. Keep both or gift either,” explains the B&N site. “Choose from select paperbacks including The Secret Life of Bees, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, A Discovery of Witches, and dozens more — all at your local B&N store. Keep one, share one — great for gift-giving.”
Titles in the program will be marked with a special B&N Sync Up bookmark. “The access code for your eBook is printed on your receipt at checkout, or get it via email,” B&N continues. “If your eBook is a gift, ask your cashier for a gift receipt. Visit BN.com/redeem, log in, and enter your access code to download. This eBook can be read on any NOOK or with the NOOK Reading App, available in your app store.”
Whether readers will see this as particularly compelling remains to be seen. The fixed price, for instance, implies that there is no single publisher relationship involved – so why not just give the companion ebook for free? I’m willing to bet that that would lead to far higher takeup than the $4.99 price point.