business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From the Wall Street Journal:

"Barnes & Noble is launching a $40-a-year membership program that promises to offer 10% discounts, free shipping, a tote bag and bigger lattes to its members.

"In asking customers to pay an annual fee for a range of perks, the largest bookstore chain in the U.S. is following some of its competitors, including Inc. and Walmart Inc., whose respective Prime and Walmart+ programs offer no-minimum free shipping, among other benefits.

"The bookseller is also launching a free, lower-tier membership program that allows members to earn a virtual stamp for every $10 spent online and in stores, and translate into a $5 credit for future purchases once 10 stamps have been accumulated. People who sign up for the $40 program also get the rebates.

"The efforts will give Barnes & Noble the opportunity to learn more about its customers —from what they read to when and how often they buy—so that it can pitch them more effectively."

I know Barnes & Noble is experiencing a resurgence, and good for them.  But this certainly seems imitative, not to mention late to the party.  Couldn't they have come up with something actually innovative?