Skip to content

Barnes & Noble Opt-Out Broken, No Response to Privacy Emails

A few months ago I signed up at so I could download some free audiobooks. I of course gave them a uniquely generated email address so I could track if they sold my email address to other companies. I registered, confirmed my account, got my downloads, no problem.

Then I started getting B&N’s weekly newsletter. After a couple weeks, I decided I didn’t want it. So I followed the unsubscribe link, which had my email address embedded into the URL. I go to that page in my browser (Safari 3 under OS X), my email address is already filled into their form, hit the unsusbscribe button and wham! “We were unable to process your request. Please try again.”

Ok, maybe they’re having tech problems. Try again a few minutes later. Same error message. So I checked out their Privacy Policy, and sent a nice email to them at

Good morning,

A few weeks ago I created an account at the Barnes & Noble web site so I could download some of your free audiobooks. That “purchase” worked just fine. I was able to register my account and I received the download instructions in an email message. The email address I used was the same one I am using to send you this message.

Now I am receiving your weekly email newsletter. I read it, and decided I don’t want to receive it. So I clicked on the opt-out link. (link redacted)

But when I try to submit that link I am told the attempt was unsuccessful. “We were unable to process your request. Please try again.”

It seems to me that if you can allow me to create an account with a long email address, which is entirely valid, you’d allow me to unsubscribe that email address from your promotional mailing list. Please investigate your system, and fix it to allow people with long email addresses to unsubscribe. Thanks very much for your help, Michael

I received no response at all from Barnes & Noble.

Two weeks (and two newsletters) later I sent the note to B&N again. And again, no response at all.

If you’re going to have a privacy policy, you need to follow it. Part of that is actually monitoring the email address you give to the public if they have privacy concerns. A complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

(Update: I tried submitting the opt-out form with Firefox, which apparently ignores the maxlength field on an input form. And apparently I’ve been opted out. Regardless, B&N needs to actually have someone assigned to do something with their privacy email address. I doubt I would ever shop at again.)