I am developing an increasing loathing of mail order book companies. To put it in vulgar terms: they suck painfully hard. In the past my naive self signed up for a company thinking that the initial joining deal would furnish me with books so cheap I could sell them at profit and that after that I could order books that I either needed for my course or would enjoy to read (there was also a free gift which broke). An error on my part, certainly, but I learned from the horrible bruise on my wallet.
I realised during this time that the books clubs can sell so cheaply because they produce and sell their own cheap-grade hardback copies of books rather than the larger, higher quality versions you can get in shops. They especially like to produce their own versions of popular classics that are out of copyright, generating even more profit. A good business model, I guess, but having just bought a (second hand) Reader’s Digest copy of the Phantom of the Opera (one of my favourite books and one of the first ‘classics’ I ever read) I was upset to find a printing error: 15 pages had been repeated and the next 15 omitted. The book is impossible to read. This is probably why it was in the second hand shop. Naughty the person who sold it to them, and naughty Reader’s Digest for not having proper QA procedures (or for simply not caring, knowing that many people will consider it too much fuss to complain or not notice until after the return period).
I will never again join a book club. I know I was a fool to join one in the first place but they do work for some people. I found the selection very restricted, the quality poor and the shafting unwarranted. It may just be that after an initial flummox on leaving uni and having no more course texts to absorb I have found my feet and know how to find things I want to read – often things not available in high street bookshops which makes me feel ever so superior.