Last week, I received a credit card order from a bookstore…by mail. I was curious why they’d sent it by mail instead of ordering online or by fax. But, they did. When I read the scribbles on the side of the order form, I was stunned by the insulting nature of the correspence. Without even asking for a quote on shipping, he said our price for shipping was “ridiculous” and that he “wouldn’t pay more than $10” to ship UPS Ground (for 40 copies).
Further scribbles indicated that he needed the book by the 16th…which gave me seven days to have the books printed, shipped and delivered. While we can print and ship a book same-day via our rush service…UPS ground (which it was clear that’s all he wanted to pay for) takes up to seven days. Basically, he was out of luck. And, I knew when I emailed him that his attitude wasn’t going to get any more pleasant.
I emailed him and politely pointed out that he’d mailed an order for books that had to arrive within a week, thus wasting several days that were needed for printing and transport. I let him know that there was no way we could guarantee arrival by his due date by UPS ground and that he’d have to pay for UPS second day air in order to get the books on time.
He emailed back and admitted that he’d overlooked our fax number on our order form (“I see it now. Not sure how I missed it…”) and agreed to pay for UPS second day air shipping.
The very next email I opened was from the author of the book in question, who I’d warned about the impending problem that threatened to ruin her book signing. She wrote to tell me that, despite the fact that the signing had been arranged two months in advance, and that she’d paid to send out 75 special invitations, the bookstore manager had called her after receiving my email and expects her to pay for the shipping to get the books there on time.
I went ahead and processed the order. I then told her, when he tries to bill her for the shipping after the signing, to tell him to jump in a lake. I also plan to contact the bookstore owner after the signing and to share the correspondence the author and I had with their lousy manager.
After this, I doubt that manager will invite the author back for another signing. And, I bet the bookstore owner has no idea how poorly his manager is treating authors. While it’s tempting to allow yourself to be victimized by bookstores, don’t let it happen. No amount of money or book sales is worth letting a procrastinator and narcissist ruin your day. Remember, without authors, there would be no books, and without books, there would be no bookstores.