End of the library story

The end of this story:
I went to the library today and talked the librarian into halving the charge (down to $20). They still got to keep the book. I guess that’s fair, and I can live with that.
Thanks to all who supported me with kind words and advice!
I would also like to thank a nice lady librarian from another branch who unblocked my account the day before I actually paid the fine, because I had some books on hold and the hold was expiring. (Not a matter of life and death but I would have to order them all over again etc.)

Yay indigo.ca!

2 of 3 books I ordered on Sunday (decided to go with indigo.ca) are already here! That’s free delivery, and it happened within three days. Yay for indigo.ca! They are the fastest!

P.S. I should note they were the most expensive too, about 5% over amazon.com, even with the iRewards card which by the way I am probably not going to renew (more on that in the next entries). 5%, however, isn’t that much if you are looking at getting your books in 3 days instead of two weeks (or, God forbid, 2.5 months as amazon.ca offers).

UPDATE. The third book arrived 2 days later. Yay indigo!

Online bookstore rant (a comparative study of online bookstores)

After the emotional ordeal of yesterday (no, seriously, how do you like that? I have been a loyal member for about 9 years, never lost or damaged a single book, and they block my account without as much as saying hello, as if I were a delinquent teenager who pulls out pages to make joints), I decided to order books online (f*** you, Toronto Public Library). I assembled identical shopping carts on three major online bookstore websites, and the results were very interesting.

Amazon.ca (prices in CAN$) Amazon.com (prices in US$) Indigo.ca (prices in CAN$)
Order cost 44.48 33.56 48.14 (with 10% iRewards discount)
Taxes 2.22 n/a 2.41
Shipping Free 16.96 Free
Total cost 46.70 50.52 50.55
Estimated shipping date Oct 20 – Nov 28 September 22-30 not indicated, but pretty much like next day, see here
Delivery time or date 2-3 business days October 1-16 3-9 business days

There are some very interesting questions that arise after perusing this table.

1. How come the books on Amazon.com, even with international shipping, cost less (considering the exchange rate) than free-delivered, loyalty-card-discounted books of a Canadian online store?

2. How come the delivery date of Amazon.com (crossing the border and all) is sooner than the shipping date on Amazon.ca?

3. Why does it take Amazon.ca 6 to 8 week to ship 3 books? Do they deliver them to the assembling point in a dogsled? (Right, that would explain the date; they are probably waiting for the snow to make the roads passable for dogsleds).

4. What’s the use of telling your customers how long the delivery takes if you don’t tell them the shipping date (indigo.ca)?

Now I am facing a hard dilemma: shall I opt for the fastest delivery, lowest price, or choose Canadian?

Toronto Public Library rant

Heard on Twitter today that David Foster Wallace died. I confess that I have never heard of him before, so I went to Wikipedia article first, and then to Toronto Public Library page to order some of his books. I selected a book and pressed the “Place on hold” button, but instead of seeing the usual page, I got a “User blocked” message. WTF, thought I. Went to my account and saw that I have been charged over $40 for a “damaged” book “(“Blue Ocean Strategy”). I know what they mean – I had accidentally spilled some water on the book on question, and the cover got slightly warped. However, the book is still perfectly readable, the spine intact, all pages present, no markings etc. It is unjust as hell to charge me the entire price of the book. I will probably end up paying the damned money and let them choke on it, but only if they give me the book back. It’s only fair, isn’t it?

UPDATE: They charged me $41.95 for a used book, and you can buy a brand new one at Amazon.ca for CDN$21.39. This is a bold-faced robbery, that’s what it is.

UPDATE UPDATE. Found the relevant library rules. Now THIS is a bold-faced robbery.

What the rule says What it means in plain human language
Replacement in kind – or substitution – for lost or damaged materials is not accepted. We will not allow you to replace the book with an identical one you buy elsewhere.
In the event that items are damaged, the Toronto Public Library reserves the right to determine the amount of repair or replacement charges. We will charge you as much as we want, twice as much as the book costs if we want to, even if the real damage is negligible
The Toronto Public Library reserves the right to retain library materials even in cases where full replacement cost has been paid. We can have our cake and eat it rip you off and keep the book, just because we can, HAR HAR HAR!