Read fine print of bookstore offers

September 17, 2006|By McClatchy-Tribune

The country's major book superstores, Borders and Barnes & Noble, are constantly competing for your business. And with good reason - in 2005, the two companies made more than $247 million in combined profits.

Now it seems you can't pay for a mocha or a magazine at one of these stores without fielding an offer to join their member programs. But do they actually save you money? That depends.

If you shop at Borders, do sign up for its rewards program, if only because it's free. If you want to actually reap its rewards, however, you must pay attention.

Spend more than $50 in any Borders store during any calendar month, and you're rewarded with a "personal shopping day" when you can save 10 percent on all purchases. But you have to use your shopping day before the end of the next calendar month.

Barnes & Noble's rewards program is a little simpler, though it requires an investment up front: You must pay $25 a year to enroll. Membership gets you 10 percent off most items in the store or at Remember, the program is only valuable if you spend more than $250 at Barnes & Noble each year.

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