Would you pay $40 a year for discounts and free shipping from bookseller Barnes & Noble?

The company is rolling the dice that you will.

Barnes & Noble is emulating loyalty programs at Amazon and Walmart to try and lock in steady business from book lovers.

For $40 annually, you’ll get 10% discounts on purchases, free shipping, a tote bag and bigger lattes when you show up at stores.

Will it work? That’s an open question.

Big-box retailers like Amazon and Walmart love these programs because they guarantee regular revenue and allow for cozier customer relationships.

They also make shoppers more monogamous. After all, if you’re going to pony up an annual fee, you probably won’t take your business elsewhere.

Amazon Prime is a perfect example of this Jedi mind trick.

The thing is, Amazon and Walmart offer, well, almost everything.

Barnes & Noble, not so much. So that $40 fee may not provide everyone with good value for money.

The new membership program is intended in part to improve Barnes & Noble’s offerings to individual customers, CEO James Daunt told the Wall Street Journal.

“If you’re interested in ornithology or cookbooks, we’ll be in a position to offer you recommendations and special offers,” he said. “It allows us to be much more intelligent and engaging and interesting.”

That’s undoubtedly true. But here’s another way of looking at it:

Forty bucks buys a bunch of books. As a reader, do I want to devote that cash to an annual subscription fee or to new literature?

The answer seems pretty clear.