Things are starting to look bad for the Nook. Real bad. Today, Barnes & Noble announced the beginning of their “Spread the Word About Nook Program” which will run until June 14, 2013. If you can somehow convince a close friend to spend $199 on a new Nook HD, B&N will give you and the purchaser a $25 gift card. This program effectively turns Nook customers into multilevel marketing sales reps.
The offer is also good for the Nook HD+, but the fact that they are including the 7″ Nook HD in the program shows that moving their larger, more expensive tablet isn’t their only problem now. Most of the offers I have received for B&N gift cards have solely involved the Nook HD+. Now, it seems that they are having to add special offers to incentivize the purchase of their 7″ HD tablet as well.
As Nathan reported recently, B&N has been vying for attention ever since their poor holiday sales season came to a close. Over half-a-dozen different gift card offers have arrived in my inbox since then, and while I applaud B&N for being a company that helps their customers save money, the frequency of these offers is starting to make me worry. Could things really be that bad that they have to bribe customers to sell Nooks to their friends and coworkers? Word of mouth is a great way to advertise, but this seems more like a last-ditch effort to put Nook sales on life support.
I have a hard enough time getting my friends to sign up for free Dropbox accounts so that I can get extra storage space from these referrals. It will be interesting to see if this program turns out to be a success or not.