I used to be a big fan of Barnes and Noble..mostly because they were the biggest bookstore around. I have owned now two of their devices–a Nook First Edition and a Nook Simple Touch.
After about three years, the First Edition started becoming wonky and I appropriated the Simple Touch that my in-law’s gave my son because he didn’t really seem to want it. Over the years, I’d been given several BN gift cards that I used to purchase books. It used to be that you could go to their website, purchase books and either load them directly onto your NOOK device by downloading them through the device OR downloading the EPUB files directly to your computer. BN has since stopped allowing that second option which means if you purchase books through their website and your NOOK gets bricked, you are screwed. Especially if you’re like me and don’t want to have to go buy another tablet (we already have two in this house) just to read some E-books.
So I purchased a Kindle E-book reader, the simplest one they had because I don’t need much to be happy. All I wanted was to download the books I’d already purchased so I could use Calibre to convert them to MOBI files for my Kindle.
Barnes and Noble weren’t having any of it though.
Me: Hi. Yes. Can I please have the content I already purchased for my NOOK please? I need to download it onto my computer because my NOOK has ceased to exist.
Online Cust Svc: No.
Me: But..I just want what I’ve already paid for.
Online Cust Svc: No you no can haz.
OCS: Because we sez so. You no haz working NOOK device. You no can haz content.
Me: But I’ve got an e-reader. I just need to download my content and convert it to a form that my new e-reader will accept.
OCS: What e-reader you haz?
Me: A Kindle.
OCS: You haz Kindle Fire?
OCS: You need Kindle Fire. Download NOOK app..not very expensive. Then you get content back.
Me: But I don’t have a Kindle Fire and I don’t WANT a Kindle fire. I just want the content I already purchased, please.
OCS: You no can haz.
Me: Why not?
OCS: You no can haz.
Me: May I speak to a supervisor please?
OCS: You need call our cust support number.
So I call 1-800-The Book.
Cust Svc: Hi! Thank you for calling Barnes and Noble.
Me: I need to speak to a Supervisor please.
Cust svc: Oh. Um..ok.
(insert soft jazz here)
Supervisor: How can I help?
So I explain the problem to him. And he gets angry with me because I didn’t buy one of their precious devices.
Me: I’ve had SO many issues with NOOK devices in the past, I decided to go a different route this time and I just want my books please.
Supervisor: You no can haz. DRM.
Me: But I have a program on my computer that will allow me to convert the files from EPUB to a format that works with my E-reader.
Supervisor (and I can hear him getting red in the face at this point): YOU. NO. CAN. HAZ! D. R. M.!! WE SEZ YOU NO CAN HAZ!!!
I hung up at that point because I could feel myself losing my temper.
I just want my books!!!!!
Another hour of going round and round with them via live chat, I finally managed to convince the customer service person to refund two of the books out of the probably fifteen or so I’d purchased over the years to a gift card on my account that had been sitting there for awhile with about three bucks on it.
Two hours after THAT I still don’t have my refund that Barnes and Noble assured me I would have through emails stating I should see the credit to my account and I”m BACK on the live chat with another agent.
And you wanna know why people seek out DRM-free e-books? THIS kind of bull pock is exactly why. All I want is the books I’ve already purchased. Period. I don’t want anything else to do with your company after this. I just want my friggin books.
Doesn’t look like I’m gonna get ’em..but I ain’t done fightin’ yet either.