back to article Barnes & Noble booked for running out of £29 Nooks

Struggling bookshop Barnes & Noble has been taken to task by the UK's advertising watchdog for running out of stocks of its ebook reader, the Nook, just a few days after slashing prices down to £29 in a nationwide campaign. B&N started an ad campaign on 24 April that touted the whopping discount from £79 to £29 for the ereader …


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  1. Rob Crawford

    Probably didn't look too hard

    Probably only went into the local Tesco Metro.

    I managed to pick up a Nook from Sainsburys in mid May, here where still many available for ages after that in several Tesco and Sainsburys branches as I considered picking up a couple simply to play about with the hardware.

    1. ElNumbre
      Thumb Up

      Re: Probably didn't look too hard

      I ordered mine online at Puk world on a Friday, it arrived on Monday. No problems, no stress.

      Not like the HP Touchpad Firesale.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Probably didn't look too hard

        Took me 2-3 visits to ASDA over a couple of weeks to catch one in stock (and it was the last one they had at the time).

        Can understand the interest though, as they're nice bits of kit. Especially when rooted, work very well as a multi-reader with the addition of Kindle and a few other reader apps (although the hardware buttons don't work with them, but the touchscreen does).

        Certainly more than happy with mine, and considering hunting out another couple for the kids.

    2. SuperTim

      Re: Probably didn't look too hard

      I got mine from the Nook site a week after they started selling them for £29. The big problem was the God-awful ordering system, rather than B+N not having the stock. First time was out of stock, but no way of waiting until stock came in, so a reorder a couple of days later and hey-presto. A cheap but pretty handy e-reader for £29 quid and I was actually quite happy (which isn't like me at all)

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Probably didn't look too hard

        I ordered mine from B+N too. No hassle processing the order... but it took nearly a month to be dispatched, which was several weeks after the dispatch date it continued to display.

        Still, happy now.

  2. Richard Jones 1

    Surely Fire Sales Are Always Limited?

    Short of setting a few new fires, the rule for such sales are, once its gone, its gone?

    1. FanMan

      Re: Surely Fire Sales Are Always Limited?


      We shouldn't be wasting our hard earned tax wonga on this nonsense.

      1. Gordon Lawrie

        Re: Surely Fire Sales Are Always Limited?

        "We shouldn't be wasting our hard earned tax wonga on this nonsense."

        We don't. The ASA is funded through a voluntary levy on advertising spend. The levy is paid by many advertisers and agencies, largely because the existence of the ASA prevents the government from imposing a regulator that would do more than ban adverts and publicly shame non compliant advertisers.

        That said, the ASA is very good at acting on a single complaint and recently ruled that many of the claims on the Society of Homeopaths website were utter bobbins, a fact which was picked up and reported on by the mainstream media.

        Non-compliance can also lead to no mainstream media outlet touching your ads so they are not quite as toothless as some may claim.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Surely Fire Sales Are Always Limited?

      The rules for promoting sales are well-known to all retailers. It's consumer protection to prevent customers being hoodwinked by incredible bargains only to be told that "they have all sold out, but we do have XYZ", with XYZ being a different product that is not discounted.

      However, this is more a matter for trading standards than the ASA. Quick word with them or threaten small claims usually does the trick.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Help! Help! I am being victimized! Did you seem him victimizing me?

        "It's consumer protection to prevent customers being hoodwinked by incredible bargains"

        Yeah, starting off by assuming the people you want to "protect" are incredibly retarded is pretty much self-defeating.

        Oh wait, they are phoning ASA to complain they didn't get the bargain they are entitled to ... never mind.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When was the complaint made? I bought two after the 2nd May, one from Currys, online, the other from a local Argos store. At least one other online store still had stock at the time

  4. Phil W

    In all fairness...

    ...I don't think anyone has ever discounted a truely similar product by such a significant amount before so there really isn't anything they could of compared to.

    Assuming the figures in the article are correct, perhaps 10 to 20 times normal sales was a bit conservative, but even if they had estimated 50-60 times normal sales it would only have been half the actual response.

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  6. Lee D Silver badge

    I got a Kobo Mini for under £30 from WHSmith online a few months back.

    Damn impressive. Proper e-ink screen like the original Kindle's. Built-in Wifi. Stupendous battery life. Able to put bog-standard PDF's / ePub's on it using the Calibre software without any faffing. Runs as Linux-on-a-mini-SDCard that you can actually remove and backup and changes as you like (so I've already put a load of ARM-recompiled games on it, and tinkering with terminals and networking and all sorts) and even upgrade to 32Gb of storage. And a pretty powerful chip to bring it all together.

    Bargain. What's a Nook?

    1. Thecowking

      A Nook's a cheap android e-ink touchscreen with a micro SD card slot.

      You can even put the play store on there with a little tinkering.

      Me, buy toys like that just to muck around with?

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Assuming a) you can get them and b) Android appeals to you more than a plain modifiable Linux image with full root.

    2. Mike Taylor

      I bought two Kobo minis at the same time. Utterly brilliant, even with my ancient eye-sight. Wish I had bought four. I'm keeping my eye on the whsmith home page, and will pounce. "Accidentally" bought all John Wyndham's books for the kids (ha!) for holiday, and they love them.

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    I got one but they sold out really fast

    I searched every single Currys, PC World, Argos in a 50 mile radius and there wasn't a single one in stock. Luckily I found an Argos Extra which offered a home delivery service and they had 3 in the warehouse and I snagged one.

    The best thing about the Nook is it can be rooted (and that's what I did to mine). Since it runs Android you can install apps that let it read a variety of formats. It even offers browsing through Opera Mini albeit through a crappy e-ink display. But I found it useful enough when I was sat by a pool on holiday.

    1. Salts

      Re: I got one but they sold out really fast

      I bought my nook just two weeks ago at PC world

      Had it not been in stock they had a buy and collect next day and last week they still had the Nook Glow.

      e-ink is crap for browsing, but when used for it's purpose, reading books it is fantastic, my wife asked me why I wanted one when I had an ipad, 3 days later after trying mine she went out and bought two kindles one for herself and one for moms birthday. I believe the kobo, kindle & nook use the same version of e-ink.

  8. smudge Silver badge

    So how long is too long?

    By the time I ordered two they were out of stock everywhere, apart from one each at various isolated branches of Argos in the back of beyond.

    I had to wait about 3 weeks while B&N restocked, which was no problem to me.

    So assuming that B&N eventually fulfilled all orders, what's the problem?

    Do car manufacturers get rapped for advertising cars that take months to be delivered?

  9. PaulyV


    ...yep, I got mine from PC World on Oxford Street about 7 weeks ago and Blackwells on Tottenham Court Road had plenty in about 3 weeks ago, all at £29.

    That said I can recall many an irate comment in this section from people seemingly unable to get them 'that very instant' when the original story broke:

    so I am not sure why there are so few here not pleased with this outcome??

    Great bit of kit by the way.

  10. silent_count

    There's a market but is there a profit?

    This sale has clearly demonstrated there is a market for a cheap, readily rootable e-reader. Now I guess the question is whether anyone can make a profit at this price point.

  11. DanielFriedrich

    Sainsbury's still has them in stock and in my local store.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I ordered mine through PC world on Line - was then told it was out of stock - and they offered a refund several days later had a Nook Glow delivered instead!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a knob head!

    If I miss out on an offer, I don't go srying like a little girl the ASA!

    Lowlife expects everything deserves nowt!

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The fact that someone bothered to complain to ASA because the stores had ran out of stock on a sale item, if they had never had the stock in the first place then it would be a fair complaint but you can hardly blame barnes and noble for a sale being popular and them running out of stock, it could easily have bombed and resulted in just a 1% increase in sales. I have missed out on lot of sale offers over the years because it has sold out but ive never thought 'i must complain to ASA because i didn't get one'

  15. Belardi

    They should have been selling these well below costs, using the book sales to subsidize the hardware.

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