Is the Barnes and Noble Membership worth it?

So, is the Barnes and Noble Membership worth it? Well, it depends on you! It currently costs $25 per year. The main benefits are that you get 40% off hardbacks and 10% off just about everything else in the store, and online you get free shipping – generally two days. It is important to emphasize that the general discount doesn’t apply to your online purchases. When I first started looking into it a couple of years ago, I thought there was absolutely no way that it was going to be worth the money. I do almost all of my book buying and reading electronically (and I don’t have a Nook, I’m a Kindle lady) and when I do buy books, I don’t buy hardbacks because I find them difficult to hold.

However, I was tempted by the initial “lots of coupons!” offer, and so I just went for it. I actually had a hard time getting those initial coupons (I can’t remember if I ever did or not), which annoyed me right off the bat, so I kept careful track that year of what I saved with the membership to see if it would end up being a better deal for me or not – and it definitely was. I had been thinking that I’d need to end up spending $250 a year (10% of $250 is the $25 the membership cost) in order to come out ahead, which is not necessarily the case, as you’ll see below.

There ended up being three reasons why the membership works well for me.

  1. Many of the people on my “gift list” for holidays and birthdays are readers. I am of an age where many of my friends and family have babies or young children, and I love giving books to kids. Not just because they’re fun to shop for, either! Also, many of my immediate family members like to get books for Christmas and birthdays. So I still end up buying physical books, just often not for myself, unless you count the books I get for my baby.
  2. Coupons. Being a member means you fairly frequently get emailed coupons. Often they will be 20% off, but I’ve had up to 40% off single items before. If you go into the store, your member discount generally (not always – but it will tell you on the coupon) gives you an additional ten percent off that. (Math side note. If you get 20% off an item, then 10% off that, the total percentage off ends up being 28% off, not 30% off). If everything you bought was using a 20% off coupon, with the 10% member discount, now all you have to buy is $89.29 worth of books in a year to come out ahead (28% of $89.29 is just over $25). Shoot, I can do that without even breaking a sweat.
  3. Free Express Shipping. I care less about the “Express” part than the “Free” part. The “Free” part means that if you see great sales online (which often is the case) you can grab the deals without having your savings eaten up by shipping.  This, combined with the coupons members get, means that I have been able to buy some of the books and movies I’d been wanting for a while for pretty cheap. I bought the Percy Jackson series for under $5 a book, and the Harry Potter series for under $6 a book, and the Lord of the Rings movies for under $5 per movie (though at this point in time, that should be fairly standard), and the Harry Potter set for about $6-$7 per movie, just by waiting for them to go on sale and getting free shipping. A side note about the movies is that I VERY rarely buy them, but now the only place I buy movies is B&N because I can usually get great deals if I’m patient. I’ve also gotten some great deals on board games.

So, in a nutshell, for me it has continued to be worth the $25 a year, because of the three reasons above.

Get a membership here.

What about you? Are you or have you been a Barnes and Noble member? Did you get your money’s worth out of it? Did you stop reading when you saw math?

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