We’ve mentioned Starbucks’s web portal, and its plan to offer free e-books through LibreDigital’s SkyShelf reader. GalleyCat is noting that US Starbucks customers can now access a free e-book of Greg Bear’s new SF novel, Hull Zero Three, from the Starbucks wifi network while within the store.

Of course, this will only be offered for online reading on “laptops, tablets, and many smart phones.” Much as with Barnes & Noble’s in-store reading program for the Nook, you can’t download and take it with you—though I don’t doubt there will be options available to purchase it if you decide you have to continue reading it after you leave.

As book-related marketing goes, this is quite an interesting idea. It could both draw interested readers to Starbucks, and interest Starbucks patrons in a new book. It does seem to run counter to the idea of e-books being location-independent—but on the other hand, location-based Internet services such as FourSquare are pretty hot right now.

Given that there’s a Starbucks just up the street from me, I might have to stop in sometime and check it out.


  1. Well, what prevented me (I tried it on Wednesday morning) was that in order to access the Greg Bear book on my iPad, I had to click and click and click again before I finally found the appropriate page, then I had to create a new account or log in with a Facebook account before I could even read it. Before! It’s one of those user experiences that seems designed to drive away short-attention-span customers, or confuse those who aren’t paying much attention. (I’m probably both.)

    I abandoned it at that point and chose to read something else online. I like Greg Bear but I can wait for a better opportunity to read the new book; the hoop-jumping required to access the Starbucks experience is too much for me.

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