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Our First Digital Book Featured as the “Pick of the Week”

The Night Circus from author Erin Morgenstern

As part of the expanded Pick of the Week program, Starbucks is featuring an extended sample of the book The Night Circus from Erin Morgenstern. The Night Circus Pick of the Week Card will be available from September 13-19, while supplies last at Starbucks company-operated and select licensed stores. 

Erin Morgenstern’s riveting debut novel, The Night Circus, is an expansive and warmhearted tale of student magicians and the mysterious setting of their encounters.  We are pleased to offer an exclusive short essay about The Night Circus from author Erin Morgenstern in celebration of its arrival as our Pick of the Week:

Imaginary Architecture

Erin Morgenstern

I think I must have been an architect in a past life, or possibly an interior designer; definitely one of those occupations that involves creating space because, in this lifetime, that place-building sensibility has become the core of my writing.

I’ve always loved books that feel like locations to be visited, and stories that feel like journeys to elsewhere. And I don’t just mean wonderlands or fantastical worlds, but also trips through gothic mansions with creaking stairs, or travels aboard softly swaying train cars.

The Night Circus began as an exploration of imaginary architecture. It started with the circus itself: tall striped tents and curling wrought iron fences, a central bonfire-lit courtyard and winding paths. I spent a long time walking around those paths in my head and investigating the contents of each tent, often building additional structures inside them—from unusual carousels to mazes of clouds.

Beyond the tents, there is the curiosity-filled mansion inhabited by the somewhat eccentric circus proprietor—an enigma of a townhouse with antique armament hanging in a room concealed by a stained glass sunset, and a sarcophagus propped up between the well-stocked bookshelves in the library.

And then there are rain-coated city streets dotted with umbrellas, formal dining tables covered with slowly dripping candles, cafes scented with cinnamon, and solitary oak trees overlooking fields that are not always empty.

I explore when I write, finding doors to open, the walls they fit within, and then there’s the matter of discovering the rooms that lie beyond. Within those rooms (or tents in this case) I encounter characters. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what they’re doing there and where they came from, what caused their scars, what secrets lie within.

But everything starts with place. What it looks like, how it feels, what sort of scents permeate the air. And I endeavor to put the places down on paper in a way that they feel almost palpable. So a reader can buy a ticket and hopefully immerse themselves in the journey. I hope The Night Circus is just such a place…

comments (30)

Comment FAQ

    • seanb2
    • 9/13/2011 11:12 AM

    Sounds great! I would love to d/l this ... but ... I must admit I am a bit confused on how to actually get it. I have been to three different Starbucks in Boston today on a search for App of the Week cards. Two were out of cards and did not even know of the "App of the Week" program - just song downloads. The third had to go downstairs to find last weeks cards for the song of the week! I also logged into the digital network and all i could find was song of the week downloads.

      • 9/14/2011 9:57 AM

      In reply to: seanb2

      Same thing in NYC. Most stores don't even know what you're talking about when you ask for the pick of the week that isn't music. And I've only ever seen the music pick cards like 3 times. And I go to Starbucks every day!
      Just put the picks on the SDN.

    • wuman82
    • 9/13/2011 1:02 PM

    Maybe you should make it clear to the customers that this "Offer" is only for an "Extended Sample" of the book and not the complete version of the book.

    I downloaded the book using a redemption code, and was only given 330 pages out of 400 pages of the book, with the last page telling me to purchase the complete book.

    The "Pick of the Week" card certainly does not say anywhere that its just a sample. This is very disappointing...

      • skitche
      • 9/13/2011 2:45 PM

      In reply to: wuman82

      i agree. i was very excited to see this today and now I'm disappointed too. I understand it it's only a sample, but the card should say that. it's very misleading!!

    • 9/13/2011 1:55 PM

    I would have to agree with both of the previous commenters.

    1. A lot of the Starbucks Stores, either aren't participating in these programs or aren't up to speed on the programs.

    2. A "SAMPLE" is definitely not a free e-book.

    • PLexxiTronic
    • 9/14/2011 8:49 AM

    I just downloaded this book. It says "Extended Sample". What does that mean? On the download card, it says "Pick of the Week Book". I thought I was getting a free ebook, just like the free songs that are offered. IBooks says 327 (pages, I think). I don't want to start reading only to find I will have to make a purchase to get the ending. That would be a lousy trick! So, tell me up front what is really being offered.

    • starbucks starbucks
    • 9/14/2011 2:38 PM

    Thanks for your comments on our new Pick of the Week offering, an extended sample of Erin Morgenstern’s new book Night Circus. Pick of the Week cards were distributed to all participating stores in time for our launch on September 13, and your store doesn’t have the cards please ask the barista to double check.

    • 9/14/2011 2:41 PM

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the Starbucks Pick of the Week promotion UNTIL NOW. The "free" book is not free at all. Nowhere does it mention on the card that this is an extended sample. It would be like offering free song downloads only to get the first 2 minutes and hearing a recording at the end saying you can purchase the full song online. Starbucks, this is a joke. Very disappointed. Next time you want to give away half of something, be forthright and say it rather than misleading customers.

      • Tisha1013
      • 9/17/2011 1:01 PM

      In reply to:

      This is exactly what I was going to post. I had seen the card at my Starbucks and downloaded it totally expecting the full book. No where on the card does it say it's only an extended sample. I hadn't heard of the book or this promo until I saw the card in the store while waiting for my drink. Super disappointed. No cool, Starbucks, not cool.

    • dusoleil
    • 9/14/2011 3:21 PM

    Hmmmm... sounds like the classic 'bait and switch' trick. Pretty unethical even for guerilla marketing standards. Good way to turn off dedicated customers as no one wants to feel as if they've been scammed.

    • Queenm77
    • 9/14/2011 7:04 PM

    Very disappointing! Very misleading! I can get a sample without a card from Starbucks and I would know it was only a sample. Probably want to rethink this promotion.

    • Joeljupp
    • 9/14/2011 11:34 PM

    Sadly, this 'offer' meant that my wife and I did not buy Starbucks today. We were on a trip and heard about the free book... So we made sure to swing by, but when I read that it was only a sample... Snap. That was a deal breaker. After feeling like I was scammed, I decided to make my own espresso. Please email me if the deal is changed to include a free book and I'll go back...... even short stories would be better than 330 samples. Not cool

    • Failbetter
    • 9/15/2011 1:08 AM

    Want to find out more about The Night Circus? Play an interactive story based on the novel at

    • Konrad_Haskins
    • 9/15/2011 4:25 AM

    The songs are the full songs for free. The iPhone app was the full app for free. Now a free sample for free? Not cool and not made clear, this is annoying bait and switch. FYI iBooks are ePub and you'll need to download a free ePub reader like the one from Amazon if you want to read this on your Mac. As it comes only is readable on iPhone and iPad.

    • starbucks starbucks
    • 9/15/2011 12:03 PM

    Thanks again for your continuing interest in the Night Circus Pick of the Week. We understand that the card does not call out that the offer is for an extended sample of the book, and we’ve taken steps to assure better clarity for future Pick of the Week offers. We hope you enjoy getting a good long preview of Night Circus.

      • Daveojr
      • 9/15/2011 4:31 PM

      In reply to: starbucks

      With the price we as consumers pay for your beverages the least Starbucks could do is offer a full book! I am pretty disappointed with the fact that everything I read on this new snook pick of the week said nothing about being a sample. And so what if it's extended, after about 10 pages a consumer would know if they liked it enough to purchase which by the way we could just read the iTunes sample. Starbucks new ebook promotion = fail!!

      • southpawf
      • 9/18/2011 10:09 PM

      In reply to: starbucks

      I have to wonder about the legality of this. Although it is free, it is clearly misleading and false advertisement.

      If you take a look at the reviews for this book on iTunes, many people are furious and this stunt is creating bad publicity for both the book and Starbucks.

      Most companies would honor what their item says in cases of deception.

      • rnrollgirl
      • 10/1/2011 8:22 AM

      In reply to: starbucks

      i have to agree with southpawf, most companies WOULD honor what they advertised. i think for those people who want it, they should be given the opportunity to (re)download the ENTIRE book (or have the balance of the book update for free).

      extended samples are pretty useless as a promotional item for you. it could potentially work out for the author and publishers as some people might purchase to get the ending, but for starbucks, it's a total bust!

      • galtinel
      • 5/12/2012 4:49 AM

      In reply to: starbucks

      I do promotions for authors and am wondering who to contact to be considered for the Pick Of The Week promotions. I only saw my first "book" card last week, and have been picking up the Songs for some time. Please email me via my account info or at

    • abeger
    • 9/15/2011 5:19 PM

    I was so excited that Starbucks and Doubleday were doing something as daring as offering a free book, only to be immensely disappointed when I discovered that I'd only gotten 125 pages and a request to pay for the rest. I can safely say that I won't be bothering with any "pick of the week" ebook promotions in the future.

    • michelle4102
    • 9/16/2011 10:34 AM

    I live in Canada, all our Pick of the Weeks are still just music! I often travel to the U.S. and have seen Apps (Shazam Encore and a game, for example) as Picks of the Week. When I tried to validate them, iTunes told me these offers were only valid in the U.S.... :>(

    • CharlotteTuinman
    • 9/16/2011 1:54 PM

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am a bookseller and Erin Morgenstern will be at M is for Mystery, signing this book on Saturday September 17th - I was excited to hear that Starbucks was featuring THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgensten and I would ask all book lovers to not give into any frustration this extended sample issue may have caused and to please give this book a chance. I read a lot for my work and this book may be the best book I've read all year.

      • Foodlacky
      • 10/2/2011 6:55 PM

      In reply to: CharlotteTuinman

      The problem is that the book is really, really great. I would have totally been interested in more titles by the same author had I not been bamboozled like this. If nothing else, it seems like there should be a promo to buy the end of the book for 99cents, ****, even $5. But to be told "wanna finish this great thing? Pay the full price" is just absurd!

      Imagine what would have happened to J.K. Rowling if everyone started to read the first book but stopped four chapters before the end???

    • 9/17/2011 12:25 AM

    How very disappointing. I was spreading the word how great Starbucks was with these new Pick of the Week promos and now I'm embarrassed that my friends will only see a sample of the book. I understand that these are free and we can take it or leave it, but be please be straight forward and say sample not book.

    • jwc6wc
    • 9/19/2011 7:40 AM

    After SCOURING the card front and back I have to agree 100% It doesn't matter how good of a book it is, it doesn't matter how much the author needs support. Simple matter. Starbucks did not make it clear and is Responsible, legally for a WHOLE book to the public. I stopped buying starbucks after I started making it at home, however with this promotion, It caused me to swing by once or twice a week. I hope they figure this out soon.

    • cWadeb
    • 9/19/2011 11:34 AM

    This is a sham! Even the headline on this page states "First Digital Book"
    No place on the card is it mentioned that you will download an extended sample, it is clearly indicated free book.
    Hopefully Starbucks will improve on their customer service and provide us with the complete book as indicated. Otherwise I believe it to be a deceptive business practice whiter intentional or not. I have forwarded information with scans of my card to iTunes.

    • landi123
    • 9/19/2011 6:58 PM

    You said this: "Thanks for your comments on our new Pick of the Week offering, an extended sample of Erin Morgenstern’s new book Night Circus. " Wrong. The card says your Pick of the Week offering is Erin Morgenstern's new BOOK Night Circus, not an EXTENDED SAMPLE of Erin Morgenstern's new book Night Circus. Count me as one of the thousands who feel ripped off and disappointed. Shame on you, Starbucks. You know the card doesn't say anything about an "extended sample."

    • utcamaroboy
    • 9/26/2011 9:14 AM

    I agree with many on these posting. I too was angry when I got to the end and was asked to purchase the book. All the cards you've offered in the past were for free apps or've never offered a song of the week that only had 30 seconds of the song. The card does say Free download with code on back, not free extended sample with card on the back. Please just ask your ad/copy department to get these things right.

    • Foodlacky
    • 10/2/2011 7:02 PM

    Hey guys,

    They have a promo running at a movie theater near me. Before you see your movie, you get SIX free movies (also known as extended samples in some circles). Yeah, it's longer than the ad on tv, but it is a super cool exclusive offer just for people we like! Wait... Are these called movie trailers? Is a 2 minute preview different than a whole movie? Oh, Starbucks, shame on you.

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