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.

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