Books are good. Paper, electronic, old, new, hard cover, paperback, classic, trash, fiction, etc. I really love books.
I have downloaded a bunch of books on my iPhone, and caught up on classics I somehow never had gotten around to. (Does Elizabeth finally end up with Mr. Darcy?) So I was delighted to see that Starbucks, along with their weekly free MP3, also offers free books. This week it was The Night Circus, which I had wanted to read. And you certainly can’t beat, “free.” So I used the code on the back of the card, and downloaded the book.
And though I think it is a wonderful thing for Starbucks and iTunes to do, I now have mixed feelings. Because it was only after you downloaded the book to your iBooks library that you discovered the disclaimer on the book's cover, “Extended Sample.” It was not mentioned on the front or back of the card.
So why do I feel cheated? The book was free, the download was easy, and it was a generous offer. But it is not a free book; it is a free (extended) taste, part, edited, modified, abridged, subset. And because it was less than what was promised, unlike their coffee, the offer left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you are going to offer something, make sure you spell out the details of what you are providing. If it is a smaller, briefer, time-limited, older version of the product, let the people know. Up front. With no asterisks or mouse-sized type of restrictions. You may get fewer redemptions, but you will also get far fewer cranky people like me complaining, perhaps unreasonably, about what you thought was your generous offer.
Got the idea?