I’ve mentioned before (in this post) about a specific book I need for research purposes. I also mentioned how much trouble I was having getting my hands on this particular piece of research. Yesterday I encountered another, major setback in my quest, which engendered a certain amount of expletive-laced ranting on Twitter.
The cause of my creative language was an email from the company which I had ordered the book from. In it, they stated that the book was out of print from the publisher (The Dutch Institute for the Near East) and they had no intentions of ever re-printing it. The Company informed me they were dropping my back-order. After 7 months of bad-or-no information from them. The following is a visual representation of my reaction:
So, let’s look at the chain of events here. First, I order this book July 8th (last year). I received a confirmation immediately that they’d received my order, and then the next day another confirmation telling me I would receive another email when my order shipped.
Then silence. For months.
Finally, my life quieted down a bit and in October I began to wonder about the lack of communication. So I called the number, spoke to a customer service representative, she knew nothing. But she tracked it down, said the publisher had not sent it yet, but that sometimes they waited to send items until they had several to send at once, because overseas and shipping and such. She promised to try to move the process along a bit.
Fair enough. But the trust was gone. So I called every week until finally in November I was told the book had been put on a ship. Shipping was estimated to take a few weeks, but once they had it they could then mail it to me.
Alright. November was a busy month, and Nanowrimo was on. I let it go again. December passed, with still no word. Finally we come to January. Life settled out.
Mid-January, I called again. The person I spoke to had no idea why it hadn’t arrived in their warehouses. After some digging, she discovered that the book had accidentally been left off the last shipment from the publisher, so she resubmitted the order and asked that it be expedited.
Exasperated, I waited a couple of weeks, and called again. This time I was passed along to a different representative (until now, I’d been talking to the same girl every time, I believe). He informed me that the book was out of print, but they could put it on back-order and see if the publisher had any plans to re-issue it. He promised to email me when he knew for sure.
Then of course, yesterday’s email arrived, with the news of the cancelled back-order.
So. After 7 months, they finally quit playing with me. 7 months to figure out that they could not provide a product they had advertised on their website as available (there was no note on the listing that it would be back-ordered, and no note in the original confirmation emails). That’s 7 months where I could have been searching for a used copy but wasn’t because I was assured I had already bought it.
Worst of all, after all this, I still need the book. The only places I’ve found it online have been this place, and Amazon. It’s listed, used, for $300 and $500 dollars. I can neither afford that, nor do I think a used copy is worth that, considering the new copy was only going to cost me $70.
So, I’m a little at a loss, and I turn to you, dear readers for help. Any suggestions for how to find it or links to places to buy it would be greatly appreciated.
The book is Who’s Who at Deir El-Medina: A Prosopographic Study of the Royal Workmen’s Community by Benedict G. Davies.