Recently someone got me a paperback set of all seven Harry Potter books. I had read 1-5 before, mostly because I picked up the first book when it first hit paperback and I’ll read anything, and they weren’t bad. Anyway. I never read them all and haven’t touched any of them in years and didn’t currently have any of them – so getting this box set was a Very Nice Thing indeed.
And so I am reading (re-reading mostly) the books straight through and enjoying them far more than I did the first time and then I got to book 5. The Order of the Phoenix. My problem isn’t one with the story, oh no. It’s with the book itself. See, there’ a folio, yes an entire 32 page clump of the book, near the middle, that misprinted.
The plate shifted during print. That’s it. But it means 32 pages of the book are printed off center. About 8 of them have the first (or last depending on page orientation) few letters cut off the edge of the page. This varies, as the plate slipped, from a letter to five or six. At the other end of the slip words almost fall into the spine.
The pages managed to be readable but took a tiny bit of work. Hardly the worst problem in the world to have! I wasn’t concerned by it, too much, but I do re-read almost all my books and kinda wanted a copy that wouldn’t have that flaw if I felt like grabbing it again.
So I called Scholastic. Well, I emailed them. They emailed back to tell me to return the book to the vendor. Except it was given to me and was out of the return date and such. So that was out. And so… well… I called Scholastic.
Did I expect them to do anything? Not really. Nor did I intend to yell or pitch a fit. I just wanted to discuss it with another human. I mean plate slips on an 800 page paperback happen. And with quality checks and the placement and all, there were maybe 500 copies that had the problem mine did. Luck of the draw.
So I called and got some woman who was in “book clubs” – see Scholastic isn’t a retailer, they sell to parents some and schools mostly, and everything else goes through a book store. And I explained that I needed normal customer service. Well she asked what my problem was, so she could transfer me around the merry-go-round.
And so I told her, quite simply, what the issue was, and included that this was hardly the biggest deal, but I felt that I should at least ask them directly, and if they said no, just go about my day. It wasn’t that big a deal.
Well, she laughed and said she couldn’t possibly handle my case because she was in Book Clubs and this wasn’t a Book Club issue but there just happened to be plenty of books matching the description of my problem book laying around.
Furthermore she informed me that with the help of only my address she would manage to make sure one of those books wound its way to me. Just because, as she put it, “No one wants damaged books floating around, they’re not as good.”
I just appreciated the level of customer support there. Not the biggest deal in the world, wasn’t going to pursue it, or raise my voice or hold it against them if they said no – but they went out of their way to say yes. And that’s the sort of thing I’ll take a moment and write about, here. So hey, way to go Scholastic. You hire good people.