Take my money, please!

I remember when I was a kid, going to The Jones Store and Macy’s around Christmas time gathering our Santa choices, then wandering around to find a clerk to take your money. Unfortunately, “there was no one there to take my money and they wasted my time by making me go fetch them” isn’t a good defense for walking out of the store with what you want, even if you can break it out on a wage basis and demonstrate adequate opportunity loss.

Harlequin. Bite me.

I haven’t bought a Harlequin in years. Dunno why, just didn’t get around to it, I guess. But I was reading the recommends on Dear Author and saw Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins and said, “Must. Have.” So I scoot myself on over there and what do I get? The runaround. Takes me 30 minutes to buy 4 ebooks, WTF?!?!?

1. I shopped in Firefox. My bad. Most days I don’t even remember what “Internet Explorer” is.

2. You have DRM, which means that if I want to put these puppies on my eBookWise, I have to buy the Microsoft Reader version, then crack it with ConvertLit (file name: clit.exe … I grin every time I open file manager and see that).

3. I have selected my purchases (about 10 books all told–I’m such an addict) and go to checkout, but I have to register for your site.

3a. Yet ANOTHER ONE. Do you know how many passwords I have now? I have to keep a password keeper (portable app, Yadabytes Passwords, brilliant and fabulous) on my thumb drive now. Why do I have to register for your site? Why can’t I just hit “pay,” enter my credit card number (or better yet, allow the use of Paypal), and be gone? [This is a serious pet peeve of mine anyway.]

4. But wait! I have to download and activate MS Reader.

4a. But wait! I already have it; why aren’t you recognizing it?

4b. But wait! I have to go activate it. For the fourth effing time (I’ve only bought 3 MS Reader formatted books thus far, so that’s an activation for each time I want to buy one).

5. And then I do that, come back and oh! I can’t get my download from Firefox. I have to open up IE to do that.

6. I do that. I go to eHarlequin.com thinking it’s the ebook site and fill up my cart with all my goodies again (because you know, it didn’t save my selections in my cart from my excursion through with Firefox), only to figure out (thankfully before I purchased anything) that it was the dead-tree site.

7. Empty cart.

8. Go find ebook section of the store.

9. Fill up cart again (by now I have about 7 fewer books than I would have bought at the front end of this process because I don’t want to go find them all again).

10. Can’t find the ebook I originally came for using any search parameter you can name. Go back to Dear Author and copy the direct link. Put it in cart.

11. Purchase ebooks.

12. Download ebooks.

13. Blog it because I’m seriously steamed.

Now, I like Samhain’s books and their customer service (’cause I had to call upon them one day and they were super responsive), but I can’t stand their Zen Cart checkout process.

Yesterday I wanted to follow an ad from Just Erotic Romance Reviews and ended up at Total-E-Bound’s Zen Cart catalog–and not at the page for the book I wanted to look at.

I love ebooks. My mission is to convert everyone to the Gospel of eBookIsm. But damn, people. Could you make it any harder to buy the things? Here I’ve been thinking the Kindle doesn’t have a long-term chance in hell, but they make everything so easy for the customer (and when one is out and about, to boot!) that I can’t see how it won’t kick everybody’s ass–because you make it so hard to buy anything!

Harlequin. Really. The only reason you got any money from me last night was because I wanted Ms. Higgans’s book so badly. Otherwise, you would have lost the $23 I did spend. That’s not counting the other $35 I would have spent as well, but you gave me the runaround.

I work hard enough to earn it. I shouldn’t have to work that hard to spend it.

2 thoughts on “Take my money, please!

  • August 8, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Oh, you too? My condolences.

    I really can’t single Harlequin and the other two out because it seems a good number of the ebook sellers and individual ebook publishers have some extraneous steps and website clutterage. I mean, I like fictionwise.com but could their website be more confusing and less user-friendly?

    So far, the cleanest ebook buying experience I’ve had that I can think of off the top of my head is booksonboard.com. I also don’t remember this angst when buying from diesel-ebooks.com


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