photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Alan K | all galleries >> Galleries >> Hanging Out In My PAD 2012 > 20120105_1054834 Damage (Thu 05 Jan)
previous | next
05-Jan-2012 AKMC

20120105_1054834 Damage (Thu 05 Jan)

Sydney CBD, NSW

Caution: This image contains content that may distress some viewers.

For those with a strong stomach, please cast your eyes upon the devastation wrought on this defenceless book. As you can see it's disfigured beyond the speaking of it.

{The bit up on the side. About half way up. Yes, the 1mm (perhaps less) indent in the cover.}

I bought this book by mistake at Dymocks last week. It was on my "to buy" list but I later found that I'd already bought it and had forgotten to cross it off my list. So relying on Dymocks' "you can get a refund or exchange within 60 days" policy I went in to swap it for a more expensive one, plus the difference.

But alas! "Was this hideous disfigurement there when you bought it?", I was asked a couple of times. (Albeit without the "hideous disfigurement" expression, I'll admit.) "We could only re-sell that as a damaged book."

You. What??

Who to, Sheldon Cooper on one of his more anal retentive days?

I bought the thing with that "defect" in place without demanding that it be marked down, and I've doubtless bought other ones which are the same or even worse. And I'm damn certain that I could go to any random bookshelf in that store and find half a dozen or more other paperbacks with equivalent and far worse markings. We're not talking about a Shakespeare First Folio here; we're not even talking about a quality-bound hardback designed to endure for years. It's a paperback textbook which will last the year or so until Windows 8 is released, and which is printed and bound down to a price. It therefore weathers (or not) the handling of casual browsers who shove it roughly back onto the shelves accordingly.

This is the first (and will certainly be the last) time I've ever needed to exchange anything at Dymocks and as far as I'm concerned they can now follow Angus & Robertson down the plughole into history. I'll make one more purchase from them to use up my loyalty program points, then I'm done with them.

Of course, this is just the metaphorical straw anyway since for a while now I've believed that Dymocks has lost the plot. As far as I can see they're doing absolutely nothing worth mentioning in the e-book field which, like it or not, is the future of the bulk of mainstream publishing. Have they teamed up with an e-ink reader company? No, all you'll find in their store is some no-name tablet, which would be great to read on if you don't mind frying your eyes. (There's a reason why Kindle, Nook (for those worthy of it; you can't get them in Australia) and to a lesser extent Kobo, all e-ink based, are blitzing the field, and e-ink is a big part of that.)

On their web site, select "Digital" as the product category. Now try searching for something. Watch in wonder as a list of paperbacks appears. Naturally there's no advanced search option to limit the returned titles to e-books. Whether this is just bad web site design or intended to disguise the paucity of content available (certainly relative to the U.S.), I have no idea.

As for the great bugbear of e-publishing in Australia, the absurd restriction on the availability of titles here, as the last remaining major retailer in the country nobody is better positioned to put pressure on publishers and authors to get their finger out in terms of signing releases. Visualise a Dymocks which is tied in with a major e-ink reader, has exclusive e-book distribution rights for a lot of titles that you can't get from Amazon, and which uses its B&M stores and e-books arm to leverage off the strengths of each other. I can. The management of Dymocks, it seems to me, can't. Just as newspapers did in the early 2000's, rather than get ahead of the change that will eventually swamp their market they seem to prefer to hold to an atrophying business model that is already being undercut by technology changes.

And don't get me started on the idiot publishers who, by restricting availability of titles, set themselves up to bring piracy into the mainstream just as the equally idiotic video distribution companies did with region coding.

Thanks for the books, Dymocks. I'll see you around if you're anywhere near Books Kinokuniya or Amazon. For any of the rest of you who still shop there, do be sure to demand a steep discount for every mark and blemish on every paperback that you buy. After all, it's "damaged".

(Incidentally, I exclude O'Reilly from this; those guys really have it together on this front.

"DRM-Free. Multiple Formats. Lifetime Access". I haven't bought from them yet but will I? Damn right, and plenty of it too.)

Addendum 21 November 2021, over 9 years into the future: I don't remember what happened to this poor, defaced book. My guess is that it hit the recycle bin years ago. The first book, however, sat in one of my bookacases lo these many years. (I can tell it apart from the one above by the positioning of the price sticker.) This weekend, I have been doing a purge of books. The original is now on its way to the recycle bin as well. The content? Well, all my talk of e-readers above misread the direction that the market would go. There is Amazon's Kindle, and there is daylight. O'Reilly dropped out of the publishing business a few years ago, and sell their content through, you guessed it, Amazon. My eyesight has become worse over the decade and I now find reading on a device with scalable fonts to be much easier. I bought a Kindle copy of the book for a few bucks in case I ever need to reference it again, even though Windows 7 is now long since out of support as well. Stanek did not write an equivalent book for Windows 10 and there will doubtless be some "under the hood" things that apply to both versions.

I have largely kept to my vow to stop shopping at Dymocks, save for a couple of maps and a couple of books as presents. The passing of paper books, so much a part of my past, tugs at me a little. Objectively it's an improvement. That nagging feeling of times passing and worlds disappearing never is.

(Oh, and after 9 years I fixed the watermark, which showed 2011 instead of 2012.)

Last Year
Last Year

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Mairéad08-Jan-2012 21:34
Ouch! Despite getting an iPad last year, I still prefer reading 'real' books although I love getting my news that way.
Type your message and click Add Comment
It is best to login or register first but you may post as a guest.
Enter an optional name and contact email address. Name
Name Email
help private comment