Ebook Annoyances

I have a confession to make: I am addicted to books. I am not addicted to reading books, I am addicted to buying and accumulating them.

I have far more books than I am ever going to read in my lifetime, but I like the feeling I get when I feel like if I wanted to know how to do something I could just do it. I am fascinated by animation and I have over a dozen books on HTML 5 animation. I like to think I will get around to reading them one day.

This is a "stack trace" of one of my multitudes of stacks of programming books.

This is a “stack trace” of one of my multitudes of stacks of programming books.

In order to avoid the massive piles I have stacked all over my house, I discovered ebooks. Ebooks are awesome. They just take up a little space on your hard drive, you can put them on multiple devices, and you can take them with you on trips without having to pack an extra suitcase. They also have the added benefit that if I decide I want to buy a book, I click a button and it appears on my computer like magic.

I have been primarily getting my books from InformIT. They are part of Safari Books Online and they sell the ebook version a few series that I am addicted to, primarily the “Learning , A Hand’s On Guide to Learning .” They have a deal of the day and they also have a lot of sales.

Back over the Fourth of July I preordered two books from them: Introduction to Game Design Prototyping and Development and Writing Interactive Music for Video Games. These are both part of a game developer series I have become enamored with.

I ordered these books on July 1st. The prototyping book was set to publish on July 8th. I figured, great, I get the book in a week. Huzzah!

July 8th came and no book. I checked the site and the publish date was pushed back a few days. Okay, no big deal. I can wait longer.

Last week I checked back. The book was now available to purchase and download, but my account page showed that I preordered it and couldn’t download it. I contacted customer service. I was told that I contacted the wrong customer service and I was sent somewhere else. Okay…

I got a response back this morning telling me that my order couldn’t be completed and was cancelled. If I have any questions go to this link.

Uh, why was my order cancelled? Is there a problem with preordering books from your site? Does this mean my other preordered book was cancelled? What happened here exactly? How can I avoid this situation in the future? Is there any way I can still buy the book at the price I ordered it at?

How many of these am I really going to be able to read??

How many of these am I really going to be able to read??

I forwarded these questions back to the representative. I got a response back saying it was between me and my credit card company and that if I have a problem I should talk to them.

No, the problem isn’t with me and my credit card company. It is with you and me. I paid for a product I was not given. I need to get access to my credit card statement to make sure that yes, in fact, I received a refund for the books I ordered. Even if I do talk to the credit card company and get them to authorize this purchase, I can’t get my book because you cancelled my order.

I have purchased books from you every week or two for the last year. I have never had this problem before when I impulsively buy and download random books that catch my eye. Why was I able to buy a book literally two days later but somehow the issue is with the credit card company?

Also, why was I not told the order was cancelled? If I hadn’t contacted you asking where my book was would I have gotten my money back or would you have just held onto it?

If someone who has blown over a thousand bucks on your site over the last year contacts you to find out how to give you more money, don’t blow them off. Don’t tell them to talk to someone else and just cancel their order.

I really wish that O’Reilly carried this series, but sadly they do not. I checked Amazon and they do carry the book I am looking for. It only works on the Kindle, which is kind of limiting. However, I do know that this would never happen on Amazon. As much as I am annoyed by bad business practices, I at least know that if they can’t fulfill my order that at least they will tell me about it and I won’t have to track them down.

I have access to this book through Safari Books Online. I pay nearly fifty bucks a month to get access to everything they have. It is probably a stupid thing for me to buy a book I can access online, I just like to know I can touch and feel it. I guess this should be a wake up call for me to stop wasting my money on impulse ebook purchases from InformIT.

So, thanks for not letting me buy that book. Thanks for saving me from myself. Time to get back to reading one of the many multitudes of books I already own.