If You Want A Book, Don’t Pre-Order It From Amazon (and a Murakami read-along update)

If you were the least bit frustrated waiting for news about the read-along I’m hosting on Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, you’re not half as frustrated as I. 
Completely forgetting about the time that I pre-ordered Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows for my son, and it took so long to arrive that I bought a second copy at the now defunct Borders, I pre-ordered Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage in December, 2013. On August 12, 2014, its release date, I eagerly awaited the post.

On August 14, giving them time to have sent it on the 12th, I eagerly awaited the post.

Today, four days after it has been released, I checked my account on amazon.com, which boldly told me I can expect my book on August 19. A full seven days after even Wal-Mart has it, while this whole debacle hangs on the hope that Fed-Ex can hold up their end of the deal.

I am surrounded by incompetence, and I have no patience for it. Books undelivered, appointments not kept, dental insurance which covers not a single procedure I’m having done this summer…the sum total of people and companies not doing what they’re supposed to, infuriates me.

Deep breath.

Okay, when my book does arrive? I suggest those of us who are reading along together, and this includes those of you who have already read it as I wait (Diane and Stu), should work our way through it marking passages as appropriate. Then, on September 12, I will post questions the publishers have put forth for our discussion. Feel free to answer all, some, or none of them as you see fit.

Meanwhile, I am living in hope that I’ll have my copy by the first day of Autumn. 

37 thoughts on “If You Want A Book, Don’t Pre-Order It From Amazon (and a Murakami read-along update)”

  1. I used to go around in continual stress about all the incompetent people/organisations around me but now I look at world news and is all in perspective. People in northern Iraq not waiting for their new book. Next time just delay the readathon until all books arein (month) and situation dealt with. Remember how lucky we are. Having wonderful book blogging friends and only dealingbwith minor annoyances most of the time. Now next time I get annoyed at something small you write me and give me a good talking to.


  2. Of course in the light of world traumas my issues are petty. But, I wasn't holding up a book against the things that are going on in the Middle East. Believe me, my son is a Marine, and my concerns for him as well as all the people involved know no bounds.

    What I meant in this post of irritation, is that I remember a time when excellence reigned, when quality was the norm not the exception. I miss that. It was the America I knew.


  3. Now I know not to think of those, 'want it next day?' blurbs on amazon.com as a sign your online shopping is so much better than ours (it's a week usually to receive anything I order here).

    I looked at my local library group (definitely not #1) – two copies on order (!) but only one copy reserved.

    I hope it comes Monday for you.


  4. I don't think I've ever pre-ordered a book online. I don't think I've even waited for a new release since the Harry Potter books. It would irritate me not to get the book I've been waiting for on the day it releases. What does amazon think about why people pre-order something? I would just contact them and tell them that this is unacceptable. They don't usually charge your card until the item ships. So I would just cancel it (after giving them a piece of my mind of course) and buy from the store.


  5. Ooooh how irritating! With all its mighty resources, you really would think amazon could do better. I will take note and not pre-order from them myself!


  6. I live in the country of total incompetence, so I try every day to hum “ohmmm” in order not to get too pissed off. However, Murakami wise, this book was translated into Romanian last summer, so I am still wondering how come such a huge delay can be possible, especially taking into account that we have such a weak book market…


  7. I've been burned by the 'pre-order' BS as well. It's so frustrating to know you've already ordered it, don't have it, and yet can see it at the bookstore. I feel your pain.

    (Some of the pain of incompetence is fuelled for me by the line repeated to civil servants like us about how much better the private sector is. It's the best! So efficient! Not wasting tax-payer money! bah. Corporate welfare liars.)
    Sheesh, that anger came out of nowhere.

    I first read your last line as 'livid with hope'. Ha!


  8. I'm sure the Want It The Next Day means you must Pay For It Dearly. I simply expected a prompt delivery with the price of the book. Silly me. Your library only has two copies? One less than ours, amazing.


  9. Well, buying from the store in our town is what I'll do next time. It would save me a lot of frustration and an annoying rant online. Sadly, they've already charged my credit card for a book I don't have, and won't have until well after a week that it was released.


  10. Ally, I see America becoming more and more similar to a communistic state. Every single thing I do, whether it's mailing something at the post office or teaching in an elementary school, requires paperwork, forms, long lines and major ineptitude. It helps to be reading Russian literature for some comfort in these days.


  11. I do know what you mean. I remember those days too. It is sad it has changed. I hope your son and all of his mates stay safe. I look forward to hearing about your read. All the best.


  12. I kept the eye on my local library catalog, and as soon as it said on order for Colorless Tsukuru, I put a hold on it. On Tuesday, release day, it was there waiting for me, just as 1Q84 had been on its release day. I devoured it in 2 sittings. Loved it!! So atmospheric, beautiful. Another great Murakami


  13. Oh, you smart girl! I read 1Q84 in three days (probably too fast for a good comprehension), but I can tell I'll linger over Colorless Tsukuru. Everything I've heard has been more than wonderful.


  14. How frustrating. I hope you don't mind, though, if I take advantage of your travails and try to get a head start on you in my reading. I pre-ordered an e copy via B&N .com and didn't have any delays. Oh, and I recommend saying “serenity now” multiple times to ease your frustration. 🙂


  15. By all means, Jay, take advantage of my travails! 😉 I'll put up with it since you have what I want, and next time, rest assured I'll stick with Barnesa me Noble. Although, I miss Borders every day.


  16. I can't believe this! Amazon is the worst! I'm sorry you've had to wait so long for you copy 😦 Definitely makes me wary of pre-ordering from Amazon. As for the book, well, I have to admit that I sat down and couldn't stop reading ( I devoured it). Now, I'm itching for you to read it as well. I'm definitely looking forward to chatting about it in September. I hope that you receive your book soon – my fingers are crossed!


  17. Where did you buy your copy?! I'm planning on shopping at your store from now on. 😉

    My copy just arrives fifteen minutes ago. I'm surprised by how small it is (compared to 1Q84), and I'm sure I will have it done well before August ends. Can't wait to talk about it with you!


  18. 2 words:

    Barnes & Noble

    We had plenty of copies on display the day it was released. You can always reserve a copy at the store and pick it up on the release date, if you don't want to wait for the mail. And by going to the store, you can pick the most perfect (read: undamaged, no creases, no wrinkles) copy.

    Your friendly B&N bookseller. 🙂


  19. Les, you don't have to tell me twice. Two words for amazon.com: Never Again. My book arrived yesterday, but there is a tear in the cover. 😦

    I always loved Borders best, but now that they're gone, I'm going with Barnes and Noble all the way. xo


  20. When I saw you had ordered from Amazon, I wondered if your book would arrive with a torn cover. It's easy to see how that would happen with that particular book. So sorry, especially since you love this author so much.

    I always loved Borders best, too. You know I worked for them when I lived in Fort Worth, right? Loved the casual atmosphere. Now my heart belongs to B&N. I hate to hear people say “I'll just order it online from Amazon.” Makes me want to say, “Well, next time you want to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading magazines for free, I wish you luck. I don't believe Amazon will meet that need in the future. But if you stop giving B&N your business, that may be your only option.”


  21. Lesley, not only will I trade Amazon.com for Barnes and Noble as booksellers, I'd trade my job for yours in a heartbeat. Have just started back at school, with meets and pressure almost insurmountable. But that's a story for another day, tonight I'm going to retreat into my torn Murakami. xo


  22. I SIT
    One afternoon with the sky covered in thin clouds
    I sit on a sofa
    like a shelled clam

    There are things I must tend to
    but I do nothing
    simply sitting enchanted

    Those that are beautiful are beautiful
    Even those that are ugly
    somehow look beautiful

    Simply being here is
    I become something other than myself

    I stand up to
    drink a sip of water
    water is also wondrous

    Shuntaro Tanikawa


  23. Parrish, you do not know how much I've missed the poems you'd leave here (and on your own site). This one comes at a particularly good time, as my anxiety about the start of a new school year is amped up for a few reasons. I will put a copy by my desk and think on peace and goodness. Thank you.


  24. Well, I had my copy on the 13th and was in perfect condition. I was happy and surprised it got here so quickly. I finished the last few pages last night. However, I will have to re-read as insomnia has been stealing my full attention lately.


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