You can say many cranky things about Amazon, but when it comes to Kindle, I have never had a problem with customer service. I have a problem with a book or the device itself and I can reach a person and get a solution within a few minutes most of the time. I’ve purchased children’s books and realized they were formatted horribly – full refund and the book was removed from my account within an hour. I purchase a book accidentally – same thing. My Kindle II: Matzoh edition, which I purchased refurbished, developed a problem with repeated crashes and they sent a new one with next-day shipping. The Kindle customer service is freaking amazing considering how dominant the device has become.
Outstanding customer service online, particularly with digital books, is almost immeasurably valuable. Digital book adoption is one hurdle after another, and having a more experienced person help you, one who has the power to refund and sell you a different copy of a book or replace your malfunctioning device, can make the transition much easier.
So imagine my dismay at this email in my inbox from Melinda:
I’m writing to let you guys know about a problem with the e-version of Anne Stuart’s new book “Ruthless” at Barnes and Noble.com. Though they have the correct cover photo, title, and book info listed (and apparently even the free sample is correct)—if you download the book, what you actually get isn’t Anne Stuart’s”Ruthless” but instead a book called “Rich, Rugged. . .Ruthless” by Jennifer Mikels.
I received the wrong book on Aug 1 (pub date of Stuart’s “Ruthless”) via my Nook, and dutifully wrote to Customer Service, and of course haven’t heard anything back from them yet. Certainly the problem hasn’t been fixed yet for me, and it looks to me like the problem is still afflicting new buyers at the B&N page as of today Aug 3. Perhaps a “public service announcement” to the Romance Reading Public ought to go out about this? Maybe Stuart’s publisher MIRA would like to know about B&N’s ham-handedness?
Thanks for letting me blow off a little steam!
Wow. Four days and still no response? That’s Not Good when you compare the alternatives.
What the heck is going on? Amazon has the correct book file, but All Romance has the wrong cover and I *believe* the correct book file (I couldn’t read the .pdb on my Mac).
But you know what? It’s Barnes & Noble’s problem to deal with, because they sold the file and are the customer’s point of access. Several days of silence isn’t dealing with it. Silence is NOT customer service. Even if the problem is with the distributor or the digital file manager or with one letter wrong in the code that arranges the purchase and download, whatever.
So while I was typing this up today, 4 August, Barnes and Noble’s response came through to Melinda:
> Dear Customer,
> Thank you for your email regarding ” I ordered “Ruthless” by Anne Stuart
> that was just released (author and title are correct on the BN.com
> site), and instead I received a completely different book entitled
> “Rich, Rugged, Ruthless” by Jennifer Mikels.”
> If you would like a refund:
> We ask that you call us at 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665) and request
> Digital Support. We are available Monday through Friday from 8AM to
> 11PM EST, Saturdays and Sundays 9AM to 11PM EST.
> We are aware of this problem and are working diligently to resolve it.
> Please check back often as we hope to correct this situation shortly.
> Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have
> Customer Service Representative – Digital Support
> Barnes and Noble
You want to bring it and be a presence in the digital market? Bring the customer service with your noise and funk. Sending a response three days later and then asking the customer to call you back to fix a mistake you are aware of is NOT going to get it done. Please check back? Please call us?
And you are STILL SELLING THE WRONG FILE?! How do I know? I downloaded Nook software for my Mac, and bought the book. Is it Anne Stuart? Nope, sure isn’t. I got me a copy of “Rich, Rugged, and Ruthless” by Jennifer Mikels.
So despite being aware of the mismatched file, you’re still selling it. So I now have to go call you get a refund on a problem you’re aware of? Oh, no, Barnes & Noble. No, you didn’t.
If Amazon can get it done in moments, and, as a few readers have stated here in the comments this summer, a small independent digital store like All Romance can get a reader problem resolved personally, seeing Barnes & Noble’s making the customer work harder four days after they contact them about a problem is just ridiculous. That’s not going to endear them to readers. Neither is selling the incorrect book despite being aware of the problem.
So if you’re thinking of buying Ruthless for your Nook, you might want to try another option.