Monday, October 01, 2007

Too Good to Be True

You might remember my elation a few posts ago at finding a copy of Tomas Transtromer's Baltics, translated by Samuel Charters at only $5 (normal price around £50). The elation was short-lived. From an email today from Powell's bookshop:

Unfortunately, the items listed below (ordered through's Marketplace) were not available at this time.

Though our online database is updated hourly to match actual in-store quantities, all of our books are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Powell's stores are browsed by thousands of walk-in customers every day, and in all likelihood the items below were purchased or mis-shelved by another customer.

Yeah, right! So in the hour before I bought it, a customer at Powell's got there first, or has placed it back on the wrong shelf. I can think of more likely explanations... The thing is, if I had found it in Powell's with a $5 price tag and brought it to the counter, they would have had to sell it to me at the marked price. The email continues:

Your card was billed at the time of your order; however, Amazon will credit the transaction immediately (they'll send you an email confirmation as soon as the refund has been processed. Depending on your bank, it may take a few days for the credit to post in your account).

Unavailable titles are -not- placed on backorder. Your order is now closed.
Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.


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