I’ve been keeping you up to date with the continuing saga of my copy of Michael Burlingame’s Abraham Lincoln: A Life. I got a really good price on the two volume set, $83 from Amazon with free shipping, and I used a $50 gift certificate from my credit card points against that. The book took a month and a half to arrive, and when it did, the spine cover of volume II had separated from the text block spine, so the book just falls open. As Drew pointed out to me, that’s to be expected for a 1,000 page book, eventually, but for a new book it’s inexcusable. Confused by Amazon’s statement on its site that exchange was not an option (the instructions say to return the book and reorder it, which would have lost me the significant discount I got on the price when I ordered it), I checked into getting the book repaired. I was told by the nice folks at Mechling Bookbindery that it would cost about $40 for repair, which was more than the lost discount. So I followed Amazon’s return instructions and found in the process that indeed, I could exchange the book for a new copy. The new books would arrive within days, and I had 30 days to return my original order.
The new volumes arrived within a few (very few) days. But guess what? The same volume of the set had the same defect. Drew tells me that this is a pretty consistent problem with this set. So I fired off a note to Amazon, telling them how much it was going to cost me to get the book repaired. Guess what? They told me that I could return the book for full credit, or I could accept a $40 credit to the payment method I used to buy the book from them. Whoda thunk?