23 January 2009

COLUMN: A FRUSTRATED BOOK BUYER



Standing on my soapbox I want to share my frustration with other booklovers:

Ms. Bookseller in the United States Of America,

I will not disclose the booksellers name out of respect for privacy in general and I know if she reads this she will know this letter is for her and the introduction to the letter is about her. So I will call her Ms. Bookseller instead.

Backstory

March of 2007…

Once upon a time I was recommended to Ms. Bookseller by a certain person, she said she had met someone wonderful online who would sell Rhapsody books. So I contacted her with enthusiasm and Ms. Bookseller said:”Please give me your list and I’ll start hunting for your paperbacks and will buy at Rhapsody for the hardback copies you want!” Now this is something you don’t have to say twice to me, for checking out the website of Rhapsody was like taking a kid into a candy store…such wonderful treats I found. As I live in the Netherlands Rhapsody is off limits and the general shipping fee is always something to take in consideration. I loved the perk of an M-Bag shipping fee for 10-25 dollars at the time and have an amount of books shipped at once. My craving for books went berserk…

I will say my list was extensive but every time a Paypal request came from Ms. Bookseller I paid within 24-72 hours. We already heard about the upcoming changes in the international shipping methods and they [post office] would take out the M-Bag option, at that time I had filled about 3 M-Bags. I received one M-bag but the other two filled with books were still sitting at Ms. Booksellers place. She wasn't on time with those last M-Bags and so the expiration date came and went for the M-Bag option and this is when all the trouble started.

I received a Flat Rate Box [this was the new option of shipping] in August of 2007 after I already started to inquire when the rest of my books were coming but then…..

And I’m paraphrasing here:

Leontine: “When will I have the rest of my books shipped Ms. Bookseller?”

Ms. Bookseller: “Soon Leontine, I’m in a bit of a heap right now family wise but as all will calm down it is the first thing I’ll do.”

Leontine: “No worries Ms. Bookseller, we all have adversity from time to time.”

6 weeks later….

Leontine: Ms. Bookseller, when can I expect my books, I can’t wait to taste some authors from my pile of books in your house.”

Ms. Bookseller: “ The Holiday’s are coming up and family is all coming home, I will send you all your books first thing come New Year.”

Leontine: “ It is not like I have nothing to read but I’m a book-addict to the core I love to have my precious at home!”

January of 2008….no books

Leontine: “New Year has started Ms. Bookseller, I really like to have my books now….it has been almost a year since I gave you my list!”

Ms. Bookseller: “ I know Leontine, but the Holidays have been so busy and house chores had to be done etc etc.”

Leontine: “Ms. Bookseller, perhaps you needs another way of working, perhaps you can devise a system among your buyers that works for you and allows you to ship faster!”

Ms. Bookseller: “I’ll think on it, I want to start with a clean slate very soon!”

So finally in March 2008 I received my second last FRB filled with books (I think it was a total of about 12/13 hardcovers and paperbacks) and Ms. Bookseller was like she said; starting with an almost clean slate. A promise from her: If the buyer orders before every first of the month the order at Rhapsody is placed on or before the fifteenth of every month and upon arrival it will be shipped immediately to the buyer.

What happened next I can only blame on temporarily insanity from my part and said to Ms. Bookseller:

Leontine: “Ms. Bookseller, Since I’m expecting my final FRB soon I have an order for Rhapsody can I place it?”

Ms. Bookseller: “Of course, thank you for your vote of confidence!”

A partial from the e-mail:

Below are the following prices for the current books that they have listed.

Lara Adrian
$12.99 Midnight Rising
$12.99 Midnight Awakening
Kresly Cole
$10.99 If You Desire
$10.99 If You Deceive
$11.99 Wicked Deeds On A Winter's Night
Laurell K Hamilton
$15.99 A Lick Of Frost
Alyssa Day
$11.99 Atlantis Awakening
Heather Graham
$12.99 Blood Red
Bertrice Small
$13.99 The Sorceress Of Belmair

The Rhapsody Total before shipping is $114.91. Rhapsody had a special on shipping when I placed the order which was an order over $25.00 the cost for shipping is $2.49.
The final cost is $117.40.

So I paid again via Paypal, immediately this time!

In the mean time I received my last FRB filled with books from the list in 2007 and that is when I went from being patient to severely pissed. At my introduction e-mail with Ms. Bookseller I clearly stated that with my used paperback wish-list I wanted them with hardly to none reading creases or I would rather buy them new from her. Well, I received damaged paperbacks with severe reading creases and the spine slanting to one side, ok, I was disappointed but they were used books so with pain in my heart I put them away. It was when I took out the hardcover trilogy of Monica McCarty that I turned into a she-devil….not only was the paper cover severely torn up, even the hardback itself was dented, wrinkled, bent or damaged and I paid new price for them!! So ok…in my emotions, which is not always the wisest idea, I wrote her an e-mail:

Ms. Bookseller:
April 10th 2008 Quote e-mail Leontine: I just wanted to tell you my FRB has arrived and what a disappointment it turned out to be. The only novels that were in the vicinity of new where the B. Small novels and I could cry myself a river. Truly, Nalini Singh was well used and one that I could throw in the wastepaper bin. Tamara Leigh has a tear in the pb cover and the saddest part of all was the highlander trilogy of McCarty. You cannot honestly say that this is the state in which Rhap sends it out to you for all the tears in the covers and the bending of the boards made me incredible sad. I bought these novels at new price from Rhap Ms. Bookseller but have a feeling of receiving well used/trashy second hand novels. As I have waited so long I cannot tell you the disappointment I felt, finally getting the novels I longed for and then this…. it is like going from an extreme high to a deep low for me. I feel like my loyalty has been punished!
I will wait for my other FRB but am seriously doubting now if I want to continue ordering from you if this is the state the novels are going to be in. I don’t mind paying the new price, nor paying shipping fee that allows the books to get here in the best state possible but this, no Ms. Bookseller, I don’t want to pay a total of hundreds of dollars for second rate books. I know you do your best but I’m honest in my feelings and I don’t have the money to replace the novels each time they are damaged like this.

I will wait on my next FRB to make a final decision.

Best regards,
Leontine

Let me be honest, the e-mail I received in return didn’t lie about her feelings either…I was a high-demand buyer and she lost more money than she could afford to give me the novels in the state I wanted them. I didn’t even responded to this accusation since I always paid her the price she wanted for the used and new books and I never asked her to lose money on the books bought for me. Also she warned me about the state of the McCarty paper covers in a previous mail… I must admit that this is true but that e-mail was from a while back and I forgot that at the moment of book distress but even the hardbacks were damaged themselves!!! I truly felt that after all that waiting I should place my books onto my shelves in a good condition and pick them at will to start reading them. The disappointment rode me hard and I even let others see the books…would they accept such books???

My last order of books as mentioned in this post was supposedly to be shipped in one FRB. Since April 2008 I have laid low…tried to give her space and I received two packages throughout the summer. But and this is where my furious attitude is coming from…I still haven’t received 3 hardback novels:

Kresly Cole
$10.99 If You Desire
$10.99 If You Deceive
Heather Graham
$12.99 Blood Red

And in the meantime the hardcover version of If You Desire is OOP at Rhapsody. It is not the money….nor even really the books…it is the fact that it has been two years of excuses, and the last 5 months even of total silence. The effort it takes to *for-crying-out-loud* receive my books, the e-mailing, the promising, the constant excuses, accepting money…but not ordering books….oh no, why should she!? No, she has to spend the money for personal matters or whatever. One of the reasons she admitted that got her into trouble in the first place and thereby delaying the shipments of books.


Letter

Ms. Bookseller,

Final Notice!

After months and months of asking, asking again, pleading and getting frustrated it is obvious all my effort didn’t work, so this is my final notice via my Blog for my last three books. I know I can be impatient but you are trying the patience of a saint. And since I’m not a saint I am feeling bitter feelings of regret for ever taking the advice from someone on your personal saint list, - as I am by now probably on your evil reincarnated list. I’m tired of the excuses and wondering if you ever bought the hardcover copies at Rhapsody with my money in the first place. Are my hardback novels even in your possession?…..because I wonder why not send them to me if you do?

We nullified our buyer/seller relationship at the end of March or early April of 2008, this is 9/10 months ago….so I ask myself: “Are those books handwritten??” Perhaps I should send the authors a request if they can enlighten me on whether they handwrite every book? I can be empathetic up to a point I feel used and you have used me, my money and most important MY TRUST to pay for whatever you had to that was so pressing at the time.

While the money was pouring in I was your best friend but as the months sped by and I became demanding you shrouded yourself in a silence that made me wonder if you took a vow of some kind. Perhaps you live in the middle of nowhere where the nearest post office takes a survival of the fittest journey? All I asked was for a sign that you received my e-mails, a message that said, ok I finally created the 8th world wonder and have shipped your books.

When I look at my bookcases and see the missing novels on my shelves I get angry, it is hard earned money that paid for those novels! And in return of that money I want pleasant reading hours, perhaps Kresley Cole’s Highlander novels are treasures but this is something I wouldn’t know because: “YOU HAVE NOT SEND ME THE NOVELS HAVE YA!!!” Ok, taking a deep breath and trying to get poised again…1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, oh who am I kidding?

You know what is said in the Netherlands, Ms Bookseller? If my letter has crossed with the fact that you did send MY books you can consider this letter as non-written. Though I don’t think that after 10 months it is ever going to happen but please, feel free to prove me otherwise. And I suddenly realize in two months I can have a freaking anniversary for crying out loud!
Still, let me also express my hope here:

I hope you never, NEVER get treated as a buyer the way you’ve treated me!

And I hope never to hear from you again save a package with my novels, which I doubt will arrive after this Blog Column. But in hindsight, not sending books seems not all that hard for you to do is it??!!

Leontine

For those who know who I’m referring to as Ms. Bookseller, I would like to keep her name off the record, you never know, on top of not getting my books I can get a slander suit as a dessert.

Stepping of the soapbox as I have vented my anger and though this is not my usual posting I had to get it out of my system!!

PS: I wrote this column on 1/14/2009 and scheduled it for publication on my Blog at 1/23/2009 Apparantly there are now rumors floating that my books are on the way but with Ms. Bookseller I will see it before I believe it and will let you know when and if my books arrive on my doorstep.

Hugs to all who wanted to read my ranting!!

10 comments:

  1. Dear Leontine,

    I feel your pain and disappointment.

    I too am a former customer of Ms. Bookseller and many things in your post are very recognizable.
    I did however have the luck that, around September 2008 after many, many, many emails, messages, pleading and begging, I received the books that were still missing from orders placed in 2007. After which we ended our buyer/seller relationship.

    Hugs,
    Pearl

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  2. Wow. That is such a shame that this person took advantage of you. How on earth did you find her and get into a business relationship with her? I am sorry for all your troubles. Looks like her credibility went out the door. I say find another seller and cut your losses.

    I am a member of Rhapsody, but I hardly ever buy books from them. Mainly, it's because they are hardback books and are more expensive than paperbacks. What about Amazon or Barnes and Noble? Because you are out of country you can't buy from them?

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  3. Wow. You have more patience than I can even imagine! (and thank you for including me on such a stellar list). My assistant forwarded me the link to your post - if you email me your mailing address (authoralyssaday@aol.com), I'll send you an autographed copy of Atlantis Awakening. I hope 2009 is much better!
    hugs,
    Alyssa

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  4. Wow Leontine... I didn't know you had such emotions... Good luck on getting those much awaited books.

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  5. Hi Jill,
    She got recommended at the time by someone I knew and thought that it was a great opportunity to bundle my book-orders instead of getting a book here and there and pay between 10 and 15 dollars each time on the shipping fee. Sandi from Hard To Find Books is my current supplier of books and I can't praise her enough. She is all business, I order, she gets the books in and then sends me a mail when the Air MBag is shipped and often within 2-3 weeks I have my books.

    I love the hardback format, simply because I love to re-read my most beloved series and a hardback version lasts longer. Rhapsody is one of those book clubs that offers much in the genres I read but they do not ship to Europe :S

    Thanks for listening to my rant, I have cut my losses and though there are rumors I consider my books lost and will stay at Sandi for future book-buying :D

    Hugs,
    Leontine

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  6. Hi Pearl,
    Thanks for your comment *hugs* In some small way I feel comforted to know I wasn't the only one!! And on the other hand I hope no one else has to suffer damaged books or not receiving what they paid for...

    Let's keep our fingers crossed!

    Hi Metonia,
    Do not worry ;D I usually do not roar in this fashion but books...my heart is involved and these days - back then and now -hard earned money paid for those books and the trust issue....well I was frustrated when again there was no reply to my e-mail. *sigh*

    Hugs,
    Leontine

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  7. Hi Alyssa,
    Thank you so much for the book, if there is one thing that makes me a happy camper again…!! Pearl and DM are already a recurring visitor of your Warriors Of Poseidon world and with their excited voices ringing in my ear I'm going to tread there very soon!

    So I'll send you an e-mail today with my address information and wish you loads of fun with your 2009 releases. I look forward to them ;D

    Hugs,
    Leontine

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  8. Leontine ~

    Wow! What a frustration to get your hands on the books you want!

    I see that my next release, A Highlander of Her Own, is on your short wish list. How about I drop a copy into the mail on Monday morning? I had sent some bookmarks earlier...did those go to the proper address? If not, please email [MelissaMayhue@aol.com] your preferred mailing address and I'll get a copy off to you.

    :-)
    Melissa
    www.MelissaMayhue.com

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  9. Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for your kind reply! And I did receive the bookmarks for the group so the address is still the same :D I would love to receive a copy of your latest novel and will have that much more to look forward to! :D

    Hugs,
    Leontine

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  10. Dear Leontine,

    I so feel for you and the mess that Ms. Bookseller left behind. I do know who you are talking about and know you, unfortunately, are not the only person who ended up with this - in lack of a better word - fraude, and in my opinion will not be the last.

    I will bide by your wishes to not name her by name, but every fiber in my body screams of the injustice done to the booklovers who trusted this Ms. Bookseller (and who still trust her) and if it were up to me I'd..... but unfortunately it's not up to me.

    I'm thankful to say I myself got out in time to not have to deal with the mess she left behind, but to read the messages left on your blog in reply, makes my heart bloom for those who carry a kind warm heart to you!

    Sending you hugs 'n kisses!

    Ur sis
    Ashleagh
    ~.~

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I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.