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Barnes & Noble announced to its customers this morning a revamped membership and loyalty program that it says "is headed by a significant improvement to paid membership benefits, now called Premium Membership. Alongside this, the bookseller is launching a free B&N Rewards program.

"The new Premium Membership maintains a 10% discount in Barnes & Noble stores, and adds a 10% discount to purchases on bn.com and a new spend-and-save reward on all shopping. For every $10 spent in a purchase, one stamp is earned, and for every 10 stamps the customer receives a $5 reward. In addition, Premium Membership gives free drink upgrades in B&N Cafes, a yearly free canvas tote and many other Member-only benefits and offers, including free standard shipping. The Premium Membership annual fee is $39.99."

The company also said that it is "offering a new, free to enroll B&N Rewards program. B&N Rewards gives customers a spend-and-save reward on all shopping. For every $10 spent in a purchase, one stamp is earned and for every 10 stamps the customer receives a $5 reward. This is the first time the bookseller has introduced a free element to its loyalty program."

James Daunt, CEO of Barnes & Noble, said that “as booksellers, we will make these ever more personalized, sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm for books with our customers. It is a very exciting new direction for Barnes & Noble.”

KC's View:

I'll be interested to see if this actually works - to me, it seems a little complicated and perhaps not as intuitive as it needs to be.

For me, the key words are Daunt's - "ever more personalized."  If Barnes & Noble is able to use its data in customized and highly targeted ways, proving that - in the phrase that Tom Furphy and I use in this morning's Innovation Conversation - it is loyal to its shoppers, then this will be a smart move.  But if it misses the opportunity, then this could end up being more noise.