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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Starbucks adds free books to their "Pick of the Week" lineup, well, not really

16

September

img_0097.pngA few weeks ago I told you that Starbucks was giving away free iOS apps as part of their "Pick-of-the-Week" program in stores. Today I noticed they have added free books too, which combine with the apps and music tracks for a trifecta of free offerings. The book I saw today was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and the card says the book is FREE. A quick check on the iTunes description page showed that the book normally sells for $12.99. "Wow, what a great deal!," I thought.

Not so fast. I downloaded the book only to find that it's an "extended sample" with only the first 124 pages (233 if you view it horizontally) of the complete 400-page book. At the end you get a message  saying: "If you enjoyed this extended sample of The Night Circus, buy the complete book." Can you say bait and switch?

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The card says the book is free and it's not. I have no problem with them not giving away books that normally cost $13 but the card should say it's an extended sample, not a free book. The Pick-of-the-Week program has been great up until now and it's a shame to sully it's reputation with something like this. There are many comments on the iTunes description page with people complaining about false advertising, so Starbucks and/or Apple should step up and address this. Hopefully it was an oversight and will be rectified. I'm trying to get some official comment and will let you know what I find out.

[Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 1:42pm]

    

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