Starbucks Screws Customers On “Free” Ebooks

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Starbucks is now offering a “Free Ebook of the Week” through Apple. Though as some angry customers discovered, Starbucks is using the word “free” a little too liberally.

The offering is pretty much in line with the free song they offer each week, also through Apple. There’s just one difference: The song is actually free.

According to Goodereader, Starbucks appears to be tricking customers into buying an ebook:

Customers are downloading the eBook that is labeled as FREE on the back of the back the card. When customers download the book and start to read they are being directed to buy the book when they read page 330 of 400.

When you look at the card there is no mention that this is an extended sample at all and customers are outraged.

Yeah, I’d be pretty outraged myself. Making customers to pay for an ebook with less than 100 pages to go just seems like highway robbery.

However, there’s nothing wrong with long samples, and I have even advocated authors offering longer samples to get the reader hooked so they’ll be more likely to buy that book. But the author should always disclose that they are offering only a sample and to read the entire book, the reader will have to pay.

As of this writing I have not found any updated information from Starbucks about this. If I can find something new about this story, I will write an update.

3 thoughts on “Starbucks Screws Customers On “Free” Ebooks

  1. Wow, that would make me really really mad. As long as its labeled I have no problem with it, but that just seems like a really underhanded way of getting people hooked and then charging for the rest of the “fix”. Wow.

  2. Why would people complain you are getting something for free after all. If you don’t want to pay, then you don’t have to finish the book.