Pre-orders, free shipping, used books, bargain books, books on sale.
You name it. You can probably find it online. But at what price?
When purchasing books, let be honest, blindly, from the ease of our computers, we don’t get to see the product. Shipping the item itself risks damage or loss. In the days of online shopping, and purchasing books, what lines would we rather not cross with products that enter our home.
I know that through Amazon, they have hazard protocol on specific items that may or may not be shipped through them due to health and bio safety hazards, but what about third party retailers online? Is your safety on their list as well? And just how much attention is being paid to those safety?
(Disclaimer: I will not be naming the the online book retailer in this thread as of currently)
In January of 2018, I took my first risk as ordered books from an online retailer that I was not familiar with. Their used books came at a phenomenally low price which is something that caught the attention of my book budget. There were not pictures of the original item on the site, but I did get to choose the condition of the book. Used, acceptable condition, means that the book may have some wear at tear, and perhaps handwritten notes from a previous owner, but nothing drastic that should be of any concern.
With a used book, in acceptable condition, I am expecting the pages to be intact, the cover undamaged to a degree, the words legible, no signs of serious water, moth, or other forms of deterioration damage.
Least of my expectations, included MOLD.
Yes, mold. That is not a typo, and is a HUGE concern! I have enough mind to fear the repercussions of mold spores, and opening a book with mold hiding between the face and the book jacket, is deplorable. Imagine if I hadn’t wanted to view the book without its jacket? Imagine that I began reading it immediately, flipping pages, laying it on my bed when I was done. Imagine that my one and a half year old, who has quite the taste for books, decided he wanted to put this one in his mouth?
My assumption at its cover, was that I was seeing water damage, and regular wear from use. A well loved book is nothing to frown upon, besides who would assume MOLD?
(At the end of this page you will be able to see the book, and behind its jacket, unedited.)
So what are you supposed to do in a situation like this?
Be outraged? Sure!
Say something? Absolutely!
What if someone else gets a book in this condition and it isn’t discovered right away? What if there is a box of books like this that the retailer is unaware of? Clearly, the right thing to do is speak up in this situation, but the book totaled just over $3, it wasn’t the only book in my order, the others are in great condition, and the shipping was free.
So, politely, I emailed the retailer, letting them know that within their description of what constitutes as a used book in acceptable condition, I was not sure mold made that list, and that I would like a replacement.
Since I was helped in a timely manner, my money refunded the best they could do, without even requiring the pictures I took as proof, I left it at that.
Although now I am getting those pesky emails to throw them a rating, and I’d really rather not give my opinion on them specifically.
So with that, I have a few questions for those interested.
- What would you have done?
- Do you think that the resolve was enough in this type of situation?
- Have you ever had an experience similar to this?
You can let me know your thoughts through the contact link on the home page or in the comments below.