Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Sale: You

Got this email recently from Barnes & Noble.   I had seen earlier articles, so knew it was coming, but this is kinda big.  When Borders shut down, it went into receivership.  The new owners sold off all they could, including the big database of Borders customers.  That would include you if you ever participated in their free or paid members clubs.  In some ways, we all got lucky.  Apparently it was a heated auction and in the end Barnes & Nobles purchased your contact information from the defunct Borders.  Now B&N has a compelling reason to be careful with how it uses the information, but still, if you're a little creeped out about your information just going to the highest bidder, you can ask B&N to destroy your info.

Here's the letter I received.  There's specific instructions and timelines for opting-out of the B&N machine with emphasis added by me.
Dear Borders Customer,

My name is William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, and I'm writing to you today on
behalf of the entire B&N team to make you aware of important information regarding your Borders account.

First of all let me say Barnes & Noble uniquely appreciates the importance bookstores play within local communities, and we're very sorry your Borders store closed.

As part of Borders ceasing operations, we acquired some of its assets including Borders brand trademarks and their customer list. The subject matter of your DVD and other video purchases will be part of the transferred information. The federal bankruptcy court approved this sale on September 26, 2011.

Our intent in buying the Borders customer list is simply to try and earn your business. The majority of our stores are within close proximity to former Borders store locations, and for those that aren't, we offer our award- winning NOOK™ digital reading devices that provide a bookstore in your pocket. We are readers like you, and hope that through our stores, NOOK devices, and our bn.com online bookstore we can win your trust and provide you with a place to read and shop.

It's important for you to understand however you have the absolute right to opt-out of having your customer data transferred to Barnes & Noble. If you would like to opt-out, we will ensure all your data we receive from Borders is disposed of in a secure and confidential manner. Please visit www.bn.com/borders by November 2, 2011 to do so.

Should you choose not to opt-out by November 2, 2011, be assured your information will be covered under the Barnes & Noble privacy policy, which can be accessed at www.bn.com/privacy. B&N will maintain any of your data according to this policy and our strict privacy standards.

At Barnes & Noble we share your love of books — whatever shape they take. We also take our responsibility to service communities by providing a local bookstore very seriously. In the coming weeks, assuming you don't opt-out, you'll be hearing from us with some offers to encourage you to shop our stores and try our NOOK products. We hope you'll give us a chance to be your bookstore.

Respectfully,

William Lynch /s/

(images for Barnes & Noble and Borders)
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