Free Wi-Fi at Borders & Barnes – What it Really Means


Need free Wi-Fi? Can’t get it at your corner Starbucks because you don’t have AT&T service? Head to the bookstore. Bookstores are luring avid Wi-Fi users to their establishments. Borders, the book giant has partnered with Verizon to offer free Wi-Fi in more than 500 of its stores by mid-October. Borders is the latest book store to join forces with a major wireless carrier. They follow in the footsteps of Barnes and Nobles and AT&T who finally opened the floodgates to free Wi-Fi to all customers and not just iPhone users. This is great news to everyone who needs a quick Wi-Fi fix because their iPhone 3G’s can’t hit claimed speeds of HSDPA 7.2mbps.

It remains to be seen how great the connection actually performs. I was recently at a Barnes and Nobles, and logging onto the free Wi-Fi with my iPod touch was a synch – if you were within the cafe’s range. Loading a website was another thing. E-mail was nippy, but the NYTimes home page was lagging – for minutes.

Is this free Wi-Fi marketing spin for “buy some coffee and some magazines?” I did notice a great deal more gadget users standing by around shelves, most likely trying to log-on as well. In poor times like these, it appears cuts in Internet service subscriptions are now more noticeable.

Either way, free Wi-Fi should bring a tad bit of revenue to these book stores at a time when book sales are hitting lows.

The addition of free Wi-Fi while certainly welcome may prove to aggravate your regular book worm. Hearing Blackberrys clicking all around you and laptops tapping can disturb the often tranquil atmosphere. I like to read my CS4 for Dummies in the corner without someone tweeting that I am reading CS4 for Dummies ya know.

Welcome to the club Borders. At least this will give Wi-Fi freeloaders someplace other than the Apple Store to hang around.


One Response to “Free Wi-Fi at Borders & Barnes – What it Really Means”

  1. 1 Bruce

    Love this…. didn’t know. What’s next?!

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