I am typically an Amazon.com man. I have the free two-day shipping and I love their used and new options. This year, however, we received a couple of gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. I recently decided to use them.
Unless you want to join the Barnes & Noble club you have to pay pretty close to the cover price. On the two books I wanted, Amazon would have saved me over $10. I went to pay, but you can only use one gift certificate on line at a time. I had to save my cart and then call Barnes & Noble to finish my order over the phone. Verdict: lame.
I received a box with two books and a few air packing pouches. The box did not appear damaged; the books however were in horrible shape. The dust jacked from the Kofford volume was sliced (perhaps by a box cutter) and quite damaged. The edges of the jacket were also quite scuffed and creased. The USU Press volume had a large ink smudge on the dust jacket, which was also quite beaten up. I’m not in the habit of paying a premium for damaged books.
The instructions for returns in the box indicated that I would have to pay for the books’ return shipment. Um, no thank you. So I called. Unfortunately, “return horribly damaged books” was not on the automated menu. I hit # a couple times in hopes that I could speak to someone. It worked. Even though there was no hint that Barnes and Noble would be helpful, they actually were. The assistant had two new books shipped to my house and she said she would send a return label for the damaged goods. Not bad.
I received the books in order. They weren’t what I would described as pristine. For example, the dust Jacket to the Kofford volume was notched, but I was too fed up to complain further. The envelope with the return postage came with a letter of instructions, but no actual postage. I called again (utilizing the repeated # technique) and had them send me out the postage again. This time, it actually did arrive.
I know I should support independent Mormon booksellers. Amazon is just so dang useful…and cheep…and I don’t live anywhere near the independents. I still order from them on occasion. Unless I get more gift cards, however, and in spite of their nice phone-workers, Barnes & Noble will definitely not get my return business.