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You’re probably wondering why I didn’t trumpet “Deal Alert” in my headline on this “great” deal, which by the way, runs from March 24 to the end of the month.

Because it’s a terrible idea and the wrong approach to their problem. Yes, B&N: We know you purchased too much inventory over the holidays. Your sales weren’t what you hoped for, and now you have warehouses full of Nooks, gathering dust. So you’re giving them away.

This move reeks of desperation. It telegraphs lack of confidence in your current business model. (Not that you haven’t telegraphed it enough over the past few months.) Why should I recommend that my readers take advantage of this deal when the existence of this deal leads us to believe that your product won’t be around long enough for us to use and enjoy it?

What could you have done instead? Well, if you think giving away Nooks is a good idea, how about giving them away to … I don’t know … libraries? Load them up with free books from some self-published authors, and you’ve given libraries both an e-reader and some books. Even without the free books, giving them to libraries will get readers hooked on the Nook hardware and might encourage them to buy Nooks and Nook books in the future.

Either way, you’ve given away excess stock, but giving them to libraries does some good for the community, gets your hardware in front of potential customers and doesn’t stink of desperation.

Oh, and while you’re at it, unlock your devices so we can install a decent selection of apps.

Barnes & Noble can pull out of their slump. But not if they keep on making boneheaded decisions like this. This sounds like a good deal, but I can’t recommend you take advantage of it, unless you want to buy two future bricks for the price of one.

 
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