Barnes and Noble, ya'll are just great big doodie heads!

I drag my mom and foster sister out at 12:00 midnight this morning to Barnes and Noble for their promised Harry Potter party. There’s a big sign up and everything. I figure I’ll have to wait in line a looooooong time, but that’s okay, 'cause my fingers are itching to fondle the latest book and slurp up the Rowling goodness. I will happily fork over the $30 to get one to call my own.

We get in and find a sleepy mob of people. There’s no real line, but hey, we’re all in a good mood. I’m a little stumped, because three minutes before midnight, there isn’t an Order of the Phoenix book in sight, just people standing around. There’s a happy little countdown, and then . . . nothing.

No books, just people standing around, sleepy and a little confused.

Okay, well, there’s kind of a line that’s heading from the counters into the deep wilds of Animals (Dogs), so I drag my mom over there. Strange thing, all the people have stickers with numbers on them. Oh! We must take a number! What a sensible thing to do, and I’ve no complain to getting a big number, because I did come rather late. So, I drag the mother back to the front table, where the lady who pointed out the line to me still stands. She’s in charge of the stickers, so I ask for one. She checks her list.

A list? Oh, dear, must be for those who prepaid. Looks like my number will be rather large indeed, and I can see the first one on her pile is 274. There’s going to be a wait.

Except, no, unless I prepaid, I can’t get a number at all. Which means I can’t get in line, which means I can’t buy a book. I have just wasted a half an hour of my mom’s time when she could be sound asleep, snoring like a congested wolverine. Would I like to put my name down on the list for the next batch of books? Certainly. Put me down for two, that way I can pick up my mom’s copy without dragging her down here again. And I can get them in the morning, right?

No, they be here in a week and a half.

Now, dear readers, please understand that while I do have a temper, I try very hard not to take it out on underlings. I think my blood pressure rose about fifty points while I tried to get my brain around the concept of a chain bookstore that:

  • advertises a midnight party, which other than a large number of people bears no resemblance to anything I’ve ever seen referred to as a party

  • will only sell books to those who prepaid

  • and didn’t advertise that fact

  • has only stocked enough books of the most heavily hyped book since the New Testament to cover their pre-paid customers

  • had only two lone, frightened coffeesurfs at the Starbucks kiosk and two people on register

  • actually expects me to wait a week and a half in a major metropolitan center to get a book that will be carried by every merchant except the “Fundies R Us” store across the way, and even that manager has a spare copy he might part with if you paid him in Jack Chick pamphlets

I smiled politely, dragged my mom and foster sister back out, apologized profusely, and we went home to get some sleep.

This morning, at 9:00, I stopped by Target, grabbed two of the hundreds of copies off the third endcap by their registers and paid nearly 40% less than what Barnes and Noble was asking for them. From car door to car door, it took me five minutes.

I’m writing a letter to your CEO, you big poopy heads!

Damn, that sucks.

Thing One stayed overnight at her friend’s house, because said friend’s mother is crazy enough to take twelve-year-old girls out at midnight to Barnes & Noble to get a book.

She got her copy, no pre-payment, no problem.

Your local B&N management has much to answer for…

You should live in NYC. At the B&N here, they had a huge table with the book piled high, and tons of empty shipping boxes just scattered all over the place from them trying to keep the table stocked.

As I mentioned on the other board, I had a similar experience with Barnes & Noble last night. When I saw how it was going to be, I took my daughter down to the nearest Walmart (open 24 hours) and picked up the book, no problem. While at Walmart, I noticed several people from Barnes and Noble there doing the same thing.

The fact that hundreds of people were in the store, standing around while the manager yelled at them like a drill sergeant was an organizational problem.

I love to go to book stores, but this does not bode well for them. Amazon has them beat hands-down. Amazon discounts their prices so that with shipping and handling added on, the books cost about the same as they would at a retail book store.
When Barnes and Noble or Borders doesn’t have a specific book I want, they tell me they can order it for me. I always ask, “When will it be in?” Usually they say “2 weeks”. Geez, I can get it from Amazon in about 3 days and I don’t have to make another trip across town.

I didn’t go last night, but this afternoon I did, and just after I walked in the last copy they had walked OUT. So I went to a nearby mall bookstore and lo and behold, they had six or eight copies on the shelf and more in the back. So I got one.

And there was no way on God’s green earth that I was going to wait a week and a half or two weeks for this book. If the mall had been out I’d have gotten on the phone and started calling bookstores.

What IS delay of gratification, anyway? :smiley:

Just came home from my bookstore job and Harry Potter is still moving off the shelves quite nicely. We’re not a large store but there was indeed a midnight party, wherein anyone who walked in wanting the darn thing walked out with it. And, given that the management knows how to run a bookstore, we likely won’t run out of copies for at least a week.

I feel your pain exactly.

Two months ago, Jomo Jr.'s school had a Scholastic book fair in the school library. I went there with him, he asked me to prepay for the Harry Potter book, so I did.

One month ago, someone from the PTA who had run the Scholastic book fest at the school handed him a fancy purple Certificate for him to pick up the book on June 21.

Today, I took him to B&N and … you know the rest of the story. Exactly as you described it. Apparently prepaying for this purple Certficate is not enough to be allowed to claim a book. I called Borders and got the same disappointment.

It turns out that prepaying to get the purple Certificate is not enough to get the book; you had to have pre-ordered at the store. Which nobody ever bothered to inform us. Not Scholastic, not the PTA, or anybody. (Probably because nobody had bothered to tell ithem.)

All that the purple Certificate is good for, in fact, is binding me to wait for the book from the Participating Retailer (who has no copies for me), instead of getting it quickly and cheaply from the discount stores as some of you did.

We get the worst of both worlds this way. :mad:

I walked into Waldenbooks this morning at about 11am.

Used my Preferred Reader card for an additional 10% off, and was out of there in about five minutes.

No line, either.

I pre-ordered from Amazon.It arived today :slight_smile:

I pre-ordered from Amazon.It arrived today :slight_smile:

I was at the local B&N last night too, but it went pretty well I think. There were activities for the kids, picture-taking, people in costume, greeters at the door, people shepherding you from this table to that table, six or seven coffeesurfs…happy customers…I got there at 10 without pre-ordering and was number 173. Got the book at 1am.

Almost finished a whole other book in the store, with no places left to sit…{{shrugs}} people are just nuts. Guess I’m one of them. :smiley:

My cousin preordered a copy for my sister for her birthday when she preordered it for her kids. Since my sister had college orientation today, I had to bring in the mail.

My mother actually called around 1 pm and asked me if it came.


The Borders where I worked had an elaborate party, starting at 9:30pm. We had over 1000 books reserved, but we were sent only that many with maybe 100 more, including the extra 20 or so each of the mangers ordered as a precaution. The first 35 non-reserves got to pick up their book at midnight(assuming they’d gotten their line-up ticket at 9pm.)

We are one in a dozenstores(literally) in my area, and some of the stores had over 2000 reserves(Borders was NOT taking pre-pays just in case we didn’t get enough in). I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sold out by now.

But our next shipment is due Tuesday.

Same crap: Went to Borders to pick up one for my nephew and was told that you had to pre-order.

I asked the clerk “Wait…everyone in the world knows that this will probably be the single best selling book of last or this century…and you only ordered enough for the people who preordered?!”

He shrugged (a clear “Hey bub. I just work here” shrug :slight_smile: ) and said that the idea is to “reward” the people who preordered. No, it didn’t make sense to him either. I could wait two to three weeks for the next order if I got on the list today.

I said “So…the people in charge of this don’t think I’ve heard of Amazon? I’ll have it in three days from them.”

He said “Or you could walk five doors down to Target and have it now. Not that I’m suggesting you should or anything :wink: since I fully support a promotion that gets me screamed at by one of three customers…or ex-customers.”

So I’ve got one I’ll give my nephew tomorrow. But my copy (I wanted a British edition) won’t be here 'till Thursday. Aargh.


Fenris, what does the British edition have that the American/Canadian one doesnt?
I walked into costco today and picked up one, they had lots available but havent started reading it yet.

Hmm. I picked one up at Wal*Mart today for $19. I wasn’t going near a bookstore for anything!

Eh, go buy it at Target or something. Then when it comes in at Barnes & Noble, pick it up and return it.

I put my name on the list at the local B&N a couple of days ago. They did tell me that they probably wouldn’t have a copy for me on June 21, but would have one soon after and that I should call and check before I came in. So that was good. But now that you all mention it, I think I’ll just swing by the Tarzhay tomorrow.

(Anyone know why the “bookstores” didn’t get enough copies, but the “discount” stores did?)

I know what you mean. Not only do they discount their books, but if you buy $25 dollars worth of books (or just about anything else), they’ll ship it to you for free. In fact, this is what we did here at my house. Mom wanted to get a Father’s Day present from Amazon (obviously the few places she checked for the CD in question were all out or never had one in stock to begin with), I asked if she wanted anything else to qualify for the free shipping, and she said “Sure, add the next Harry Potter book.” Now, I will admit that I was surprised that we got it today with the free shipping and not early next week (I guess either they bumped up the shipping on their own or we happened to live close to the warehouse they shipped out of this time), but there we are. Cost of the book? $17.99, free shipping, and got it on release day.

Same with other things. Last year, the first volume of the omnibus for Morressy’s Kedrigern series came out. I asked at several B&Ms (both chains like Borders and B&N, as well as local shops here in town), and nobody stocked it or planned to stock it. The routine answer was “We can order it for you from the publisher and have it in four to six weeks.” After about the fourth time hearing this, I was about ready to ask “Are you people stupid? Why would I order through a middleman when I can go to the publisher’s website or Amazon and order directly from them and have it here in probably no more than a week and probably for cheaper as well? Heck, I could order it from the website of this chain and have it in less time.”

Anyway, while online ordering may never be the undoing of B&M, I sure am glad it’s an option.

The Canadian one != The American one
The Canadian one = The British one

That said, I dunno. In the earlier books there were a bunch of text changes to “unBritish” the books (which is a flaw, IMO). Stuff like Dumbledore popping a “sherbet lemon” / a “lemon drop” in his mouth. Plus they dumbed down the name of the first book (The Brit version is “and the Philosopher’s Stone” but the American publishers thought 'murricans waz tew dum tew unterstann what a “philosopher’s stone” is. :rolleyes:

I think Rowing was able to stop 'em from changing the later ones, but all my eariler ones are British and A) just in case and B) I want the covers to match. :slight_smile:


Only thing I’ve heard is from abused bookstore guy: The idiot chains thought it would be a “bonus” to the people who preordered if they were the only ones who could get copies.

Doesn’t make much sense to me either (how is it a bonus to someone who preordered that I can’t get one from Borders given that their copy is reserved?) but it’s the only explaination I’ve heard.

Were it up to me, I’d give a bigger discount to the people who preordered and maybe only allow preordered people at the midnight party or somethin’. But to not sell the book at all to non-preorders? :rolleyes: