Barnes & Noble teams up with AT&T for FREE WiFi

Sure, if you’re already and AT&T customer, especially if you have an iPhone, you can already enjoy free WiFi service in Barnes & Noble retail locations throughout the US. But, for the rest of you without an AT&T subscription to call your own, Barnes & Noble has just announced that it will give all customers that walk through its doors free access to AT&T’s WiFi hotspot service. Barnes & Noble is hoping that free internet connectivity will help foster the idea that its retail stores serve as community centers. And, it doesn’t hurt that customers can use the free WiFi to download eBooks from B&N’s catalog of over 700,000 eBooks.

“Barnes & Noble pioneered the concept of retail stores as community centers,” said Steve Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc.  “By providing no-fee Wi-Fi access, we are not only meeting our customers’ needs, but extending the sense of community that has always been in our stores.”

We’re not the type to hang out at the book store to kill some time, but for you literature fans out there with a need to escape to an air-conditioned building filled with books and free WiFi, your local B&N might just be one of the better Summer hang-out spot in your area!

By the way, you can find free B&N eBooks here.

Full press release on the break.

BARNES & NOBLE STORES NATIONWIDE

TO OFFER COMPLIMENTARY AT&T WI-FI

In-Store Access to Over 700,000 eBooks On World’s Largest eBookstore

Customers Can Download Barnes & Noble Free Apps and Get Access to the World’s Largest eBookstore — Exclusive Content, Customer Reviews, Information about In-Store Events, Locate a Store, and Much More

NEW YORK, JULY 28, 2009 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced today a strategic agreement with AT&T that will provide complimentary in-store Wi-Fi to any customer that visits a Barnes & Noble bookstore nationwide.  All customers shopping in Barnes & Noble stores can now freely download and preview any of the over 700,000 eBook titles with hundreds of thousands of public domain titles available from Google.  The company said its number of eBook titles is expanding every day and expects to hit the one million mark soon.

“Barnes & Noble pioneered the concept of retail stores as community centers,” said Steve Riggio, CEO of Barnes & Noble, Inc.  “By providing no-fee Wi-Fi access, we are not only meeting our customers’ needs, but extending the sense of community that has always been in our stores.”

Mr. Riggio added, “This is a natural progression of our digital strategy to provide customers with more choices in how, when and where they want to read.”

The existing AT&T Wi-Fi network at Barnes & Noble has been available to customers since 2005.  Now, anybody walking into a Barnes & Noble store anywhere in the country will have complimentary and unlimited access to the network at all store locations.

As a part of the Wi-Fi offering announced today, customers will soon be able to opt-in to receive personalized messages from Barnes & Noble – such as a coupon to the in-store café, notices on an author book signing or details on where to find a new book release in their favorite genre – on their Wi-Fi enabled devices when they enter the store.

“We are pleased to expand our relationship with Barnes & Noble as we work together to enhance and deepen customers’ overall experience within the retail stores,” said Ron Spears, CEO, AT&T Business Solutions.  “We currently offer the majority of our AT&T customers Wi-Fi access throughout our more than 20,000 U.S. hotspot footprint, including Barnes & Noble, with their qualifying AT&T services.  Now, we’re excited to be able to offer every Barnes & Noble customer the same great Wi-Fi experience at no extra charge whenever they enter a retail store.”

Customers can also download free Barnes & Noble Apps giving them access to the world’s largest eBookstore with over 700,000 eBooks titles and exclusive content, customer reviews, information about in-store events, store locations, and more.

The free apps include:

Barnes & Noble Bookstore app for iPhone and iPod touch allows customers to:

Discover their next great read by browsing bestsellers, B&N Recommends lists, new releases or watching video interviews with authors.
Check the events calendar for celebrity book signings, readings, musical performances and children’s Storytimes.
Find the closest Barnes & Noble, get maps and directions.
Use the iPhone’s camera to snap a photo of a front cover and within seconds promptly retrieve product details, editorial reviews, and customer ratings – even find and reserve a copy in the nearest store.
Barnes & Noble eReader app for the Barnes & Noble eBookstore – enabling convenient anytime, anywhere eBook reading on iPhone and iPod touch; BlackBerry® smartphones, PC’s and Mac® laptops and desktops.  Offers customers:

Instant access to more than 700,000 eBook titles.
Hundreds of new releases and bestsellers at $9.99.
More than half a million public domain titles available.
Powerful tools to optimize the reading experience, including the ability to modify type size and font and annotate and bookmark text, as well as an innovative auto-scroll feature enabling users hands free reading.
Read free eBooks today:  www.bn.com/ebooks

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