Apparently Barnes & Noble meant it when they said that they were looking into the gift card issue for ebook purchases. Currently, B&N gift cards can’t be used to buy ebooks, but a new post on one of the company’s blogs says that should change by mid-December.
After reading our post last Friday, a reader named Bob emailed B&N’s customer service to ask whether their policy would change. In their response, B&N wrote,
All publishers require that the eBooks they submit, including free eBooks, are encrypted for each customer. The “unlock” device is the billing name and credit card number of the primary credit card on your Barnes & Noble account. Currently, credit cards are the only payment method that can be applied to orders for eBooks.
However, our customers have told us that they would like us to provide a gift card option for eBook purchases.
We hope to have this gift card available shortly, please visit our website often for updates.
It looks like they weren’t kidding. Just now, another reader emailed us to point out this update on the B&N “Unbound” blog:
We’ll soon accept Barnes & Noble gift cards as payment in our eBook store.
This change – effective in mid-December – will allow customers to use physical gift cards and online gift certificates to purchase eBooks through our site, through nook, and through other devices using the B&N eReader software.
We’ll have full details (including the specific launch date) in mid-December.
In the meantime, we want to say thanks for your suggestions and enthusiasm. We were able to accelerate this change due in part to the customer feedback.
“Coming Soon: Gift Card Purchases for eBooks” [Unbound: The eReading Blog] (Thanks to Kerry!)