We know that Barnes & Noble has the technology to process ebook transactions in its stores, and with a new holiday promotion the company announced Thursday, we’re seeing more ways that technology can work. Between December 20 and 24, customers who go to a Barnes & Noble physical store and buy an ebook from a list of 20 qualifying ebooks — including The Hobbit, Life of Pi and the entire Hunger Games trilogy – can “instant-gift” another ebook on that list for free.
Chris Van Allsburg
It’s tempting to see such Technicolor absurdity as targeted more toward the adults—the sort of adults who buy avant-garde picture books, at least—than the children. And it is tempting to see it as a weird aberration in a section of the bookstore that, when you’re combing the shelves, trying to find a single non-awful book for a preschool birthday present, can seem insistently, intentionally boring. But neither is true. The picture book genre has always been a breeding ground for anarchic absurdism.