Update: Barnes & Noble says they’re changing this policy. If you or someone you know is getting a nook, Barnes & Noble’s version of the Kindle, this year and you want to use a gift card to fill it with books, forget it. For mysterious reasons, the retailer won’t allow it. (By contrast, Amazon does.)
The issue first popped up on TeleRead.org last weekend, when someone wrote in to say he discovered his new $100 gift card wouldn’t work on B&N’s ebook store. Unfortunately, not even the company’s own employees seem to be aware of this glitch, which is why I think it’s worth publicizing.
My wife and kids pre-ordered a nook for my birthday at our local B&N. The sales person also sold her a $100 gift card to “get my eBook collection started.” When I tried to purchase a few books, I found out that gift cards can’t be used on eBooks.
I checked out Barnes & Nobles’ Gift Card terms last weekend to see what the fine print said about ebooks, and it said nothing. I emailed Barnes & Noble to ask whether it was temporary or intentional, but still haven’t received an answer.
However, the fine print has been updated this week, now the site explicitly states,
Gift Cards can be redeemed for any product sold at Barnes & Noble.com, except for the purchase of eBooks.
Huh. Like I said, Amazon doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.