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BARNES and NOBLE

Note: This page is in the process of being amended now that some update news has come in! (see update note at the end of the page). The old page used to read approximately as follows:

Why there WAS previously no affiliate program with BARNES & NOBLE at this site

Barnes & Noble is a bookshop. It's one of many bookshops that exist in the world. But there is a difference. Barnes and Noble have a clause in their affiliate program contract as follows:

"We shall be the exclusive bookseller on your site. You agree that you will not (directly or indirectly) allow any other person or entity to sell books on your site or link their site to yours in connection with the sale of books."

I believe this is anti-competitive, so I haven't signed up to this. I would much rather advertise all the other bookshops, who are all happy to co-exist in a freely competitive market. Also see the Shopping Portal

In my opinion, in a free market economy, a company should compete with its rivals by giving a better service to its customers, giving better value for money, being more efficient. It shouldn't try to wipe out all the competition by legislating them out of business by unfair contracts.

So, what's to be done about it? Well, if Barnes and Noble have a change of policy and a reasonable agreement, I don't mind advertising them in with the other places at the page of bookshops. This is the way it works for many classifications of companies. They can have an affiliate program with Commission Junction or with a choice of many other affiliate marketing companies who all co-exist in reasonable terms in a world that's plenty big enough for everyone to have a share.

If you would like to buy some books, it's up to you to decide whether you would like to have a choice of places to buy books from or whether you want to be told where to go and have no freedom to compare the offers. If you see places advertising http;//www,bn,com you may like to point out to them about the issue of conscience in question.

Here's another slice of my opinion about "exclusivist" clauses:

It's totally unrealistic. Imagine what would happen if Barnes and Noble wanted to be in the phone book. Would they insist they shall be the only bookshop in the Yellow Pages bookshop classification? And what about advertisements on television? Can you see the television broadcasters saying "oh yes, we'll stop all the other bookshops advertising on our station". I don't somehow think so! And newspapers, what do you suppose they would think to a clause designed by a company to silence the press against a company's rivals? They'd laugh!

Now, a message to Barnes and Noble: If you're reading this, all this is true isn't it? I'm not being unfair to you am I? You can't deny that the anti-competitive clause was in your contract that you expected me to sign. Why don't you re-write the contact and play the game on a level playing field? I have no grudge against you, and, if you are going to be reasonable, I am willing to put advertisements on this site. But NOT at the expense of eliminating all the other bookshops. So, how would you like a FAIR affiliate scheme with this site?

And to the customer I say: If you'd care to look at my page of BOOKSHOPS you will see I have included there a collection of different and diverse places for you to choose from. That is a representation of the freedom of choice we have in a free capitalist society. What do you think? Would you prefer it if the page had just one name on it, that of Barnes and Noble? More about fair play at CORRECT

News update 2004/12: Since the creation of this page several years ago, a great many bookshops have been added to the page of bookshops, and some of them have done very well by it. (I know this because I am paid on a commission-only basis!). At no time have any bookshops other than Barnes and Noble ever had the gall to demand they be the ONLY place on the page. So, visit the BOOKSHOPS PAGE and see the freemarket economy in action!

Update 2008/08: A message has been received from Barnes and Noble to say that this previous situation about the affiliate program is no longer true, and that they are willing to be featured on a website alongside other booksellers. Therefore, this page is being amended. We are now in discussion with Barnes & Noble, and if we can reach an agreement about other things in the contract, we may yet be promoting Barnes and Noble on this website!

Plus, regardless of whether we can reach an agreement about terms and conditions in a new affiliate contract, this page will be updated to reflect the current situation. In the meantime, please consider the main article on this page to be historical, as it represents a situation in the past, rather than the present.

WELL DONE to Barnes and Noble for changing their terms and conditions! This is a positive step, and is good to Public Relations in recognising acceptance of the free market.

Also, WELL DONE to Barnes and Noble for fighting Microsoft in their ridiculous without-merit patent cases!