Thursday, October 29, 2009

Books N Nooks on Textbooksrus

Let's take a loook at a textbook seller doing business on Textbooksrus.
This is some phenomenally bad feedback!

View Feedback for : booksNbooks
Member Since: 9/7/2009
Location: New Delhi, AL
Seller Rating: 3.17 (24 ratings)
Feedback Score: 63%
13 Positive Reviews
0 Neutral Reviews
11 Negative Reviews

Rating Date Customer Review
2 out of 5 10/24/2009 I am generally very happy with the books I order online. They come at a great price, and in good condition. However, the received book this time was in terrible condition. Many of the pages are scrunched up and illegible. Will not do business again.
1 out of 5 10/20/2009 I never recieved this book!
5 out of 5 10/19/2009 The processing time takes quite a long time but I got what I order after all with a fast shipment. Thanks.
1 out of 5 10/11/2009 I have not received the book I ordered on Sep. 17th. and I don't get any notice from the seller! Don't buy anything from this seller!
5 out of 5 10/10/2009 I love this book! Did it come with a registration code card? Thanks!
5 out of 5 10/7/2009 No Problems.
1 out of 5 10/5/2009 gives wrong book and tries to take the shipping money. takes very long time. do not buy from this seller. will never do business again.
5 out of 5 10/4/2009 I was left in the dark about my shipment status until i emailed the seller. They responded promptly and kindly. I received exactly what i ordered. Processing took a few days longer than i expected. But i got the book i needed, at an excellent price.
4 out of 5 10/3/2009 Good customer service.
1 out of 5 10/2/2009 this punk sent me the wrong damn book...completely differenet isbn number!! I WANT MY MONEY BACK! ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seller Response: The ISBN for the International edition will ofcourse be different.
5 out of 5 10/1/2009  
5 out of 5 10/1/2009 Good transaction. Thanks
5 out of 5 9/30/2009  
1 out of 5 9/30/2009 out of stock, yet listed as having it in stock. never again
1 out of 5 9/26/2009 Send me a wrong edition book,and the book is missing nearly 50 pages. When I ask for return,there is no response!
5 out of 5 9/24/2009 Great Fast and Prompt Response from seller, this is one very good quality that the seller have. Very satisfied at the moment. Still waiting for my textbook to be shipped. Thanks :)
Seller Response: Thank you very much
1 out of 5 9/22/2009 Read Below:"the previous comment"
Seller Response: This customer was already informed of these slight changes, still he left a negative feedback.
1 out of 5 9/22/2009 Very unprofessional, they say in their comments books have exact content as US editions but they not. Problems are not the same and they use Rupees figure rather than dollars. Who the fuck will be solving a rupees problem in America?
Seller Response: This customer was already informed of these slight changes, still he left a negative feedback.
2 out of 5 9/22/2009 I am still waiting on my book -- I ordered this thing on the 12th of September and it is not here yet... what is really happening?
Seller Response: The deliver has been already attemoted twice. This customer is not available to accept the packet but leaves negative feedback.
4 out of 5 9/21/2009
Seller Response: Thank you very much. Look forward to your continuos business.
Rating Date Customer Review
5 out of 5 9/18/2009 Brand New Books
5 out of 5 9/18/2009 AAA+++ seller
5 out of 5 9/18/2009 Keep up the good work!!!

I've attached a screenshot, although not all of the text will be legibile in it.
Here's the link for this feedback page.

The guy above, cussing and highlighted in red, raises an important point.
While I generally support buying International Editions to save money while you're in school, NOT ALL INTERNATIONAL EDITIONS HAVE THE SAME CONTENT!! Booksellers use boilerplate text that makes this claim for all of their International Editions, when in fact not all of them are word-for-word and page-for-page identical.

Monday, October 26, 2009 Packaging Fail

With this entry, I return to complaining about bad booksellers and leave bad books behind for a while.
When I order a book, I expect it to arrive in the condition it was advertised in.
When I bought the below book, I was assured by the seller's description that it was a new book.
It is true that I was sold a new book. It was in shrink wrap when mailed.
It is simultaneously true that I was sold a new book packaged in a fashion guaranteed to indent all eight corners and smash the edge of one of the hardcovers such that the book was no longer properly new when it got to me.
Notice the book being mailed in a box that would hold four such books, without a shred of packing peanuts, painter's paper or any variety of void fill.

Bad bookseller! No Cookie!

Bad Book, Even Worse Distributor: Nazi Waffen SS Songbook

This entry, like a few others, is about bad books, publishers and distributors, not bad booksellers.
Thus, read the blog's title as "Bad Book, Seller. No Cookie!" when I have entries like this.
The book is a Waffen SS [1] songbook, vintage 1943.
This one, like Atlanta Nights below, is a bad book. In my book, any military song book is a bad book; marches are, at best, bad music.
It may not be the worst book, however, the distributor was the German Third Reich, one of the most evil regimes that ever blighted our planet.
Here's a quick quote from Wikipedia on exactly who the Waffen SS was:
The Waffen-SS (German for "Armed SS", literally "Weapons SS") was the combat arm of the Schutzstaffel ("Protective Squadron") or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside the Wehrmacht Heer regular army, but was never formally part of it. It was Adolf Hitler's will that the Waffen-SS never be integrated into the army: it was to remain the armed wing of the Party and to become an elite police force once the war was over. Operational control of units on the front line was given to the Army's High Command, but in all other respects it remained under the control of Reichsf├╝hrer Heinrich Himmler's SS organization, through the SS F├╝hrungshauptamt, literally The SS Guidance Principal Office. In the early years, membership was open to true "Aryans" only in accordance with the racial policies of the Nazi state.

Damn. That makes this a really evil book.
I've pasted pictures of the front and back covers.
Due to the brittleness of the pages, I can't scan the interior without risking the integrity of the book, and it was handed to me on consignment by a customer, so wasn't mine to break.
Here's the weird part, as I look at it, and actually the interesting part of the book from my perspective.
There's an inscription on front.
It has a name on it leading me to believe it was owned by "Aunt Mabelle".
Below the name, it says

Given the language and circumstances, we'll have to assume that "Harold" was a US or British military man who sent the book as a gift to his Aunt.
Now, I don't know about you folks, but I'll be damned if my aunt would consider a Nazi songbook to be an appropriate gift.
I keep going over how that could have been a sane gift, and I keep coming up blank for ideas.

PS- Incidentally, I wasn't willing to market it online, but I did tell my consignment customer about a legitimate militaria dealer that might be interested in buying it, so I hope that works out well for him.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Worst Book Ever, Huh?

I ran across a Google ad in my gmail today.
It claimed that The Cat's Meow: The Annotated Version by David Parker is "The Worst Novel Ever" and "So bad it'll make you cry".
Here's one review:
"Why is David Parker so hard on himself? The Cat's Meow isn't a bad novel, really. Which is not to say that his annotations, in which he mercilessly derides himself for poor plotting and writing choices, aren't hilarious. They are...
I probably won't check it out, but it does look kind of neat. I might check it out if I can get it for a couple of bucks used at a used book store or thrift shop.
Here's the Amazon page.

I would posit, however, that the worst novel ever, intended to be the worst novel ever and written by a number of good authors plus a computer was Atlanta Nights, authored pseudonamously by Travis Tea. 
Here's a quote from the Wikipedia entry:
"Atlanta Nights is a collaborative novel created by a group of science fiction and fantasy authors, with the express purpose of producing a bad piece of work of unpublishable quality to test whether publishing firm PublishAmerica would still accept it.[1] It was accepted, but after the hoax was revealed, the publisher withdrew its offer.[2]

The primary purpose of the exercise was to test PublishAmerica's claims to be a "traditional publisher" which would only accept high-quality manuscripts. Critics have long claimed that PublishAmerica is actually a vanity press which pays no special attention to the sales potential of the books they publish since most of their revenue comes from the authors rather than book buyers. PublishAmerica had previously made some highly derogatory public remarks about science fiction and fantasy writers, because many of their critics came from those communities; those derogatory remarks have influenced the decision to make such a public test of PublishAmerica's claims."
Wiki article here.

That really doesn't do it justice.
A sample does it better justice:
"Richard didn't have as sweet a personality as Andrew but then few men did but he was very well-built. He had the shoulders of a water buffalo and the waist of a ferret. He was reddened by his many sporting activities which he managed to keep up within addition to his busy job as a stock broker, and that reminded Irene of safari hunters and virile construction workers which contracted quite sexily to his suit-and-tie demeanor. Irene was considering coming onto him but he was older than Henry was when he died even though he hadn't died of natural causes but he was dead and Richard would die too someday. . . ."
— from Chapter 25 of Atlanta Nights"

Here's the author's website where you can discuss the book, order it, or buy neat merchandise.
Humorously, while most books can be had used for less than a dollar, this book currently doesn't sell for less than $6.90 used on Amazon. Go figure.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alibris Coupons: 10% Off On $50 or $100, Good Till December 4 2009

$5 off of $50: 

$10 off of $100

Remember to sign up with Ebates, and use them before you shop at Alibris.
That way you can get your 10% off, and get 3% off of the resulting bill.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bookseller Pricing FAIL!

This post shows you what happens when you don't do currency conversion properly.
The seller in question is themeirinca.
Notice the following item, found on, online seller to the Frozen North.

Okay. Nice fashion book. Probably a bunch of neat pictures. Not cheap, though.
Cheapest way to get one from  is direct from Amazon, at CDN$ 109.62.
Let's notice the below listing:

That's right, 17,697 Canadian smackeroos.
Or, for those of you wanting to convert into other currencies, I scooped some values from the Wolframalpha website, which I highly reccomend.

JPY | yen 1.492 million  (Japanese yen)
EUR | euro 11380  (euros)
GBP | sterling 10470  (British pounds)
CNY | yuan 114700  (Chinese yuan)
MXN | $ 222900  (Mexican pesos)

This raises the question of exactly how these guys got this currency conversion that far wrong.
Anyone who could work that out is either better at math than me or travels a lot more.
If you'd like to look at their feedback, it's here:
One wonders how long they'll stay in business with 67% positive feedback.

Feedback30 days90 days365 daysLifetime

That's all for now. Catch you guys later.

PS- Check out their price for the book with ISBN 1416024506, the 18th Ed of The Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bad Bookseller! No Cookie! College Books Direct

Today, our NO COOKIE! winner is Collegebooksdirect.
I ordered two copies of Hall's Economics, 4th Edition hardcover, USA edition for students.
Today, I received the books, complete with a bunch of extra stickers.
Why don't I show you what they looked like?

Front Cover On Arrival

Rear Cover On Arrival

Now, when you see a bunch of used book stickers on the cover, 90% of the time that means there's something up.
Typically you're looking at some kind of free copy.
When textbook "salesmen" visit a college campus, they hand "free" copies of the books out to professors so that they can review the books and consider them for adoption in their next class on the book's topic.
In most cases, these free copies have been specially printed to discourage resale.
Frequently one will see "Instructor's Edition" printed on the front and/or back covers. The ISBN printed on the bottom right corner of the rear cover is generally a special ISBN that has been assigned to the rear Instructor's Edition only; regular copies bear a similar but different number, generally with a difference in the final two digits.
Thomson Southwestern sometimes makes statements on the covers like "NOT FOR SALE: This textbook has been provided free for an instructor to consider for classroom use. Selling free examination copies contributes to higher prices of textbooks for students."
Knowing all of the above, I proceeded to peel the stickers off of these books.
Let's take a look at the bare books! Some residue remains; these stickers are not made to be easily removed, and I probably spent 10 minutes stripping them off.

Front Cover, After Sticker Removal

Rear Cover, After Sticker Removal

There you go. My suspicions were correct.
Let's note that this condition was NOT properly disclaimed.
Here's the description:
Text may contain some highlighting.
Below is a screenshot of the description.

For the record, I ordered this on the website.
Now, Alibris *does* permit teacher's editions, but they need to be disclaimed as such.
Thus, our "No Cookie" goes out to Collegebooksdirect, who really ought to have known better. It's not like they're new to the textbook scene, being nearly 15 years old.

Trivia question for the readers:
What's the oldest instructor's edition you've ever seen?
Feel free to share!

12/24/2009 Update: I noticed a couple of hits from an IP associated with College Books Direct. In case you're reading this, here's a kind word or two: You guys are generally way cooler about returns than 90% of sellers, and your customer service is head and tails above every other large textbook seller I've ever dealt with. I'd give you a Good Bookseller! Cookie For You! on that basis, but here at Bad Bookseller, No Cookie, I only have No Cookies! to hand out. I initially left your name out of my post, but put it in later to illustrate a point for one of my friends.