NEW YORK—In a last-ditch effort to entice customers to visit their stores, bookseller Barnes & Noble announced plans Tuesday to immediately begin offering Nook tablets free of charge to anyone who even stepped through the door at one of their retail locations. “With its 9-inch HD display, ultra-light body, and speedy 1.5GHz dual-core processor, the Nook offers consumers an irresistible reason to stop by one of our stores and maybe buy anything at all,” said company spokesman Kyle Leary, reiterating that an unlimited number of the 32GB devices would be available at no cost whatsoever and that customers were not obligated to purchase anything but “definitely, definitely could” if they so chose. “Nooks are excellent for reading in sunlight, and customers can have as many of them as they can fit into their bags. If they’re also interested in browsing the shelves for 10 minutes—or five minutes, that works too—they are absolutely more than welcome. I really can’t express how welcome they are to do that.” Leary added that customers reluctant to enter Barnes & Noble branches entirely would find an open box of tablets in the entryway beside a stack of half-off calendars and Moleskine notebooks.