I like collecting series of books and having recently read Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years I thought it’d be fun to go back and re-read the entire collection from the beginning.
That plan fell apart pretty quickly, although ‘The Secret Diary’ and ‘Growing Pains’ were available, the third book ‘The True Confessions of Adrian Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend’ wasn’t listed on any UK bookseller sites.
However, when I spotted that Apple’s iBooks was listing ‘True Confessions’ I contacted Penguin customer services and asked:
“Can you confirm whether The True Confessions of Adrian Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts & Susan Lilian Townsend’ is available as an ebook? It’s listed in Apple’s iBooks app on the iPad but not at Kindle, Waterstone’s WHSmiths”
To which I received the following somewhat underwhelming two line response:
“Thank you for your enquiry
Im sorry this title is not available“
It seems that response – received just three days ago – is already out of date because WHSmiths.co.uk has now joined iBooks in listing the title.
Fair enough, book rights are a weird thing and we all appreciate clearances can hold things up for ages before suddenly and unexpectedly being resolved – maybe that’s what was at play here and fortune was smiling on me.
However the sparse response from Penguin/Pearson’s ‘Customer Solutions Advisor’ hasn’t exactly blown me away. Not only did they fail to even hint that the book would be available in a couple of days but the author didn’t even acknowledge that the title was available via iBooks.
If publishers are going to deal direct with book readers they’re going to have to be capable of providing a level of customer service which understands they’re dealing with people passionate about the product.
This is even more important in an age when they’re offering instant purchases from their websites and – presumably – want as much repeat direct custom as possible.
UPDATE: Things seem to go from bad to worse, in response to the original reply I asked how, if the book isn’t available “is it available as an ebook [from] iBooks?”
Today I got this meaningless response: “This would be Amazons or a companies decision not to have purchased this from us. ”
But a couple of days before Penguin were insisting the book wasn’t available for ANYONE to stock/buy – a little more product knowledge and a willingness to read through emails might be in order?
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