We’ve mentioned Starbucks’s web portal, and its plan to offer free e-books through LibreDigital’s SkyShelf reader. GalleyCat is noting that US Starbucks customers can now access a free e-book of Greg Bear’s new SF novel, Hull Zero Three, from the Starbucks wifi network while within the store.
Of course, this will only be offered for online reading on “laptops, tablets, and many smart phones.” Much as with Barnes & Noble’s in-store reading program for the Nook, you can’t download and take it with you—though I don’t doubt there will be options available to purchase it if you decide you have to continue reading it after you leave.
As book-related marketing goes, this is quite an interesting idea. It could both draw interested readers to Starbucks, and interest Starbucks patrons in a new book. It does seem to run counter to the idea of e-books being location-independent—but on the other hand, location-based Internet services such as FourSquare are pretty hot right now.
Given that there’s a Starbucks just up the street from me, I might have to stop in sometime and check it out.