Bookstore Blues

I want my new book!

Two weeks ago, I decided to treat myself to a new book for the first time in months as part of my cure for loneliness (a cure which also included masses of chocolate and a day on the town with friends). I carefully examined my “to be read” list, and settled on the one which had been there the longest, Gail Carriger’s Soulless. I heard about it over at Agent Kristin Nelson’s blog where she had posted the first page. It hooked me immediately, hence its position on my list. So, on a trip into the nearby city with friends, I went to the bookstore. And then another bookstore. And another. I came away empty handed every time.

Waterstones had just sent all their copies back to the publisher as returns (why, when they had a Steampunk display table it would have fit on nicely?). WHSmiths told me they had discontinued the book (already?!). Forbidden Planet had the book in stock…in their London store, and I would be required to call and order it shipped (I tried to order off their website, but no luck). Finally, in despair I found it on the Waterstones website, successfully ordered a copy, and sat back to wait.

After a week, I began to check the order status obsessively. Two weeks later, it is still listed as “waiting to be picked from our warehouse” which I assume must translate into “We are a bunch of lazy nincompoops who haven’t even shipped it yet.” Let me assure you, I am approximately two days away from a very angry email to Waterstones’ customer service. I worked in a book store, so I have a certain amount of patience. I understand that I am not the top of the heap, the special snowflake, the most important customer. But they will have to talk very, very fast to convince me that there is any sort of excuse for a two week delay in getting a book out of the warehouse.

This whole fiasco upsets me on a number of levels. First, there is my frustration with the difficulty I’ve had getting my hands on a particular book, which is less than a year from release. Then there is my sympathy with the author, a clearly talented writer whose fans, through no fault of theirs or the author, can not access her work! Finally, there is my fury at the extreme slowness and laxity of customer service exhibited to me by the Waterstones corporation. I’ve read one whole page of Carriger’s work, and fell immediately in love with the authorial voice, the Main Character’s voice, the premise, and the setting. You would think such a book would be a little easier to get my hands on.

Thought for the Week: “Patience has its limits. Take it too far and it’s cowardice.” George Holbrook Jackson

Currently Reading: Ancient Perspectives on Egypt edited by Roger Matthews and Cornelia Roemer



  1. LM Preston said,

    June 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I understand how you feel. It’s one of the main reason lots of people just decide to purchase online.

    • Bookewyrme said,

      June 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      Actually, I think this time I would have been better off continuing my search for a bookstore carrying the book in person. I probably would have found a store that had a copy sooner than I’m going to get the book off of the internet at this point.

      And for anyone interested, the book I ordered is still listed as “waiting to be picked from our warehouse.”

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