What was supposed to be an easy gift has turned incredibly frustrating at every turn.
I was gifted a Nook earlier this year, and thought it would be nice to gift one to my dad, who is a bit computer illiterate. I thought he would enjoy an eReader and since he lives near a B&N could download books at the store. I also thought it would be nice to "prime" some books on the Nook before he received it.
Oh man. The B&N I went to on Black Friday had an incredibly incompetently-staffed Nook stand; I waited over 10 minutes to be helped and gave up when an associate helped some random gal who walked up to the stand after me.
A week or so later I tried a different B&N, which had no staffed Nook stand and three bored and unbusy associates behind the counter. We waited 5 minutes before going up to ask one of them for help, which was a mistake. The associate was incredibly rude, saying that it was "really hard" to print out a gift receipt for e-Books (which I know is false because several e-Books were gifted to me when I received my Nook). She didn't seem to understand the idea of a surprise Christmas present. I should have left and ordered the Nook online but bought the Nook (had to tell her I was a B&N member to get my member discount).
Tonight I gift some books to my dad's e-mail address (which I can access) and end up putting one of the books on my account. Great. Since it was a book I hadn't read and would probably read in the future, I figured I could just re-gift the book and make sure I log in as my dad when I redeem the gift certificate. Since re-gifting the book, that order now has an estimated ship date of December 17? What the heck? B&N has already charged my credit card for the book and now I have to wait 4 days for a freakin' e-mail, so I can download the book to the Nook before I can wrap it up and ship it to my parents half-way across the country.
I've been extremely disappointed with both the brick-and-mortar experience and the online experience with B&N over this. The ability for my dad to download e-Books from a B&N store was the main reason why I went with a Nook over a Kindle, and now I feel like I should have gotten him something completely different, since I doubt his future e-Book buying experiences will be any better.
The Nook is going to be the thing that keeps B&N solvent as the world transitions to electronic reading material, and the lack of competent staff during the holiday season is not going to help their market penetration. The lack of intuitive user interface isn't going to help either.
I've been a loyal B&N member for over 10 years, and I'm seriously considering letting my membership expire and going over completely to Amazon because of this.