So I’m a member of Paperback Swap. It’s changed since I first joined and now costs either an annual membership fee, or a $0.55 fee when swapping. That sucks, but it’s not that big of a deal to me. But that’s not the point of this post.
The point is that, I had an incident with another member recently. So anyone who knows books knows that they print multiple versions of books, and I don’t just mean trade paperback, mass market paperback, hardcover, library binding, etc. I mean that they sometimes print multiple versions of (for example) a mass market paperback with different page counts, cover art, and more importantly different ISBN numbers— especially if book is old, there could be dozens of prints/re-prints. With that being said, I am always diligent about choosing the proper ISBN number that coincides with the version of the book I want. I always double-check before listing a book on my wish list, and especially when requesting a swap.
Recently, a book on my wish list became eligible for swap and after double checking the ISBN, I requested the book, which was a trade paperback copy. When the book arrived it was a mass market paperback. Upon further inspection, I saw that the ISBN on the book did not match the ISBN of the listing, which indicates that the person listed their book incorrectly.
I chose the option that stated I received the book, but there was a problem with the book not being the one I requested and asked for my credit back. The program let’s the member handle things on their own and will step in if there is a serious dispute. After some back and forth messages with sender, three things become obvious:
- She listed her book based on the cover picture rather than the ISBN number, which is explicit warned against in the book listing process.
- She felt as though she didn’t do anything wrong and while happy to refund my credit, wants her book back.
- Even though it was her incorrect listing that caused the problem, she feels as though she is the victim.
Now someone might say, “Even though it’s mass market instead of trade paperback, it is the same book, so why not just keep it and let it go?”
But why should I take the loss? I was very thorough about picking the right listing to get the specific book I wanted, so why should I be stuck with a book I didn’t order? Besides the fact that I should receive the book I ordered, the trade paperback matches the other books in the series that I currently own. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have and obsessive compulsive need for my series to match.
I get her being upset, but what angered me was that she eventually tried to turn it around on me, telling me that I should be more specific with my requests so that no one else has the same thing happen to them. But I was specific! You were the one that was more worried about the cover art matching rather than making sure the ISBN was correct!
They said all this in the message where they, grudgingly, agreed to return my credit. I responded very calmly about being sorry that they felt they were giving the short end of the stick; however, it was not my fault that they listed their book incorrectly. I did what I was supposed to do, by researching all of the versions listed in the system and picking the one I wanted. I also offered to send the book back, because I don’t want it. They will just have to pay for shipping. And I gently reminded them to pay attention to the ISBN and not the cover photo when listing books in future.
Was I wrong for wanting the credit back? Was I wrong for being upset that she tried to blame me for her mistake. And according to the guidelines, I am under no obligation to return the book, or pay for shipping if I do chose to return it. Was a wrong in asking that she pay for shipping if she wants the book back?
I don’t think so. Would anyone like to weigh in? I feel bad, but more than that I feel anger.