As a book blogger and lifelong voracious reader, I’ve always purchased a lot of books from various vendors. Many of my book purchases are made online, as they fit into my budget and the delivery method is convenient for my busy schedule. However, I find that more often than I’d like, my books come in semi-damaged condition that I cannot control since I am not picking them out myself (I am totally that person who checks every single copy at a bookstore to ensure I’m purchasing the most flawless one). I don’t crack spines, don’t dog ear pages, etc. so when a new book comes in less than perfect condition, it’s especially irritating since I take such good care of the books I own.
What sparked this recent post was a much awaited delivery of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Hearing nothing but incredible things about the book, I ordered the newly released paperback from Amazon, along with several other books that were gifts for my boyfriend’s upcoming birthday. The paperback came slightly ripped in the top corner of the spine, with black smudges all along the spine, some on the cover, and on the pages as well (especially noticeable since the cover is an off-white/cream color). Perhaps for most this wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it irritates me that I pay money to receive a book that had been chosen and packaged so carelessly, especially one that I was eager to read. This isn’t the first time it’s happened either, as last May I pre-ordered 3 books that were all being released the same day, and all came with some minor tears on their beautiful dust jackets, especially The Heir which was torn along the spine. I didn’t want to deal with it at the time so I never took the time to mail and return it, but to this day it’s not one I want to display on my shelf when it looks as if it’s in such careless condition.
It made me begin to wonder if I’m the only blogger who has started to move away from ordering books online and paying slightly higher in-store prices to ensure I receive a quality copy, or if I’m the only one who would return a book over these imperfections. I know that with books I’m really looking forward too I’ve started to head to the store to pick them up and swallow the expensive list prices to ensure I won’t receive a damaged copy, which is the method I took when Winter by Marissa Meyers was released, picking it up at Barnes & Noble the day of its release (B&N has actually proven to be a good vendor when it comes to lodging a complaint about the way a book was delivered, as they allowed me to swap out my slightly damaged copy of Red Queen with a copy of my choosing from the store).
So now, after I’ve waited nearly a week for A Darker Shade of Magic to arrive (I don’t have Prime anymore, since the price has gone up over the years, and the price for free shipping in general continues to climb and climb) I have to take time out of my day to return it due to careless shipping and handling. Yes, it’s a personal preference, but I am a staunch believer in taking care of the things that I own, and receiving a damaged book in the mail isn’t up to the standards I have for my personal library.
As a fellow blogger and reader, what bookish conditions do you find acceptable? Have you had issues with books arriving damaged in the mail in the past? Have you ever returned a book due to it arriving in less than perfect condition? Have the standards of the books you buy led to you only purchasing from certain methods and/or vendors? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue (trivial as it may be in the grand scheme of things) in the comments!