Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Buyer Beware - The Cons are Out There

I'm annoyed at myself for being duped into buying something online without carefully reading the small print.

The perceived “book” – promoted complete with colorful cover and teaser excerpt – was only a few dollars. The purchase was motivated by three purposes: It was a Florida writer's publication. It was an E-book. It would be the first electronic book I'd ever ordered.

After (seemingly) years of on-line and cocktail chat about the radical changes in the publishing world, the decline of hard-copy tomes and the rapid demise of old book sales in the bibliopole trade, I finally opted to “meet the enemy”.

I managed, without the aid of a 10-year-old, to negotiate the maze of instructions and chatty distractions on the publishers purchase page, logged in name, address, shoe size and credit card number of PayPal (a misnomer with its own hurdles), and completed the purchase.

I was feeling pretty good at only spending half-an-hour or so at the keyboard, with a minimal of error messages and only one swipe at the dog yelping to go pee, before the screen instantly indicated: IT was THERE!

Where “there” was only took a total scan of all my files, revision of search order ( Name, Size, Type, Modified) and another nail-biting ten minutes – after the screen message indicate “file is downloaded” (dummy) – before locating the text.

BUT, the size of the file and its instant download onto my clunker computer, rang little warning bells in my brain. Less than a day, no phone calls to India, and I had managed to purchase an online book. Nah!

True to form, when I settled down: with cream-cheese laden bagel, coffee at hand, dog streaming out the door, and ready to read the screen load of copy, it hit me.

It wasn't a book I'd bought for less than three dollars – it was a short story!

I will probably enjoy it – once my wrath has simmered down and I read beyond the teaser page. In the meantime, I feel duped. If my experience echoes around the reading world, I wonder how many P.O'd people like me will opt to only buy what they can see.

Plans for my own ebook are on hold – again.

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