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BookPeople to the Rescue!

July 22, 2007

The wife and I were both looking forward to yesterday and the delivery, at last, of our two copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by those Santas in brown shorts, UPS.

I was so anxious that I even put aside my typical morning ritual of writing at Seattle’s Best so I could be home when the doorbell rang.

But UPS didn’t come. Midday passed into afternoon, and all of the sudden it was 7:30, and we were still without our books. Calls were made, and we learned that Amazon had arranged things so that UPS would deliver the books to the USPS, who would then handle the final leg of the distribution.

Pissed off that they would do this without passing word along to their customers, yet hopeful at the same time, I made the trek to our mailbox (or mail cubby, more like) to see if the books had been delivered that way. No dice. We received a nice tax refund check, and some credit card applications, but no books.

More calls were placed. The first was to Amazon, to claim the promised refund for not making the guaranteed delivery on the 21st. The second was to Barnes & Noble, in hopes that they would still have some in stock. Of course, they didn’t, but we could feel free to check back on Tuesday. The story was the same at Borders, and even at the nearby grocery store.

I went to bed fuming. I’d been looking forward to curling up with this last Harry Potter adventure, and, as appropriate as the refund was, I didn’t feel it was enough. Amazon – or more correctly, the Post Office – had failed to deliver, in more ways than one. If I’d known that was the plan, and that UPS would be passing things off, I’d have cancelled my order and reserved a copy at one of the many area bookstores. I felt cheated.

This morning, I got up early and, with no Harry Potter to read, made my way to Seattle’s Best to do make some progress on my Chapter V revisions. Then, while I was packing up, I decided on a whim to head over to BookPeople – an awesome independent bookstore next to the office – and see if maybe, just maybe, they had a few in stock. I wasn’t hopeful, but it was only a few hundred yards out of my way, so what could it hurt?

As I walked in, I saw a crowd of people around the information desk, and figured they were probably reserving copies for when the next shipment came in. But then they parted, and I saw a handful of copies left on the display shelf. Turns out that BookPeople, unlike just about every other retailer in the Austin area, foresaw something like this happening, and has been receiving shipments throughout the weekend.

Eager to reward them for this foresight, I was sure to snag copies of The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass as well. I just finished The Golden Compass (excellent, by the way) yesterday, and will be diving into its sequels once I get through Deathly Hallows.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a book to read.

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